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» 10/01/2007
KOREA
South Korean president to cross northern border with North on foot
The symbolic gesture will start Roh Moo-hyun’s visit. South Korean leader will meet his North Korean counterpart, Kim Jong-il, at least five times. His presence at the controversial ‘Arirang’ show causes anger, opposition calls it one of Pyongyang’s preferred tools of torture.

Seoul (AsiaNews/Agencies) – South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun has decided to cross the demarcation line that divides the Korean peninsula on foot “to serve as an historic occasion,” his press office announced, raising doubts about how the second intra-Korean summit in 60 years will be organised. According to Unification Minister Lee Jae-joung, the “president and his entourage crossing the MDL on foot will be an historic and impressive moment [. . .] to establish peace on the Korean Peninsula.”

Roh and North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il are expected to meet at least five times in formal meetings during the summit.

The summit should start with Mr Roh attending an official welcoming ceremony in Pyongyang hosted by Supreme People’s Assembly President Kim Yong-nam. The key moment will take place on Wednesday when the two Korean leaders meet, with only a few key aides present.

Afterwards, Roh is to watch North Korea’s mass gymnastics propaganda performance “Arirang.”

His decision to attend the controversial event has provoked an irate reaction in the South where the opposition attacked the president for taking part what it considers one of Kim Jong-il’s favourite tools of torture, saying that it is like having a South Korean delegation attend the event is like visiting a concentration camp.


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See also
08/14/2007 NORTH KOREA – SOUTH KOREA
Hopes and doubts ahead of intra-Korean summit
by Pino Cazzaniga
05/09/2007 KOREAS
Peace is ultimately something for North and South to decide, says Seoul in rebuttal to US
by Theresa Kim Hwa-young
05/10/2007 KOREAS
After 50 years Seoul and Pyongyang agree on rail link
by Theresa Kim Hwa-young
10/06/2007 KOREA
Intra-Korean summit raises hopes but also anxieties
by Pino Cazzaniga
10/03/2007 KOREA
Roh and Kim are all smiles, but little is expected from talks

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pp. 176
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