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    » 06/19/2006, 00.00

    SOUTH KOREA – NORTH KOREA

    President Roh backs Kim Dae-jung's visit to Pyongyang

    Theresa Kim Hwa-young

    The proposal is made during celebrations of the historic 2000 visit. Concerns are raised about an expected North Korean missile test launch.

    Gwangju (AsiaNews) – South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun said he was in favour of a visit by his predecessor, Nobel Peace Prize laureate Kim Dae-jung, to Pyongyang, which is scheduled to take place this month.

    For Roh, who was in Gwangju to open the celebrations of the 6th anniversary of the historic Kim, the Koreas have had many problems between them but cannot ignore the main path towards reconciliation. Former President Kim's visit to the North would be an additional contribution to the relations between the two states.

    More than 700 guests attended the celebrations of the historic 2000 meeting, among them: former South Korean President Kim Dae-jung himself as well as former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.

    In the last few days Mr Kim's suggested visit the Communist North this month was on everybody's lips. The 2000 summit was the first since the end of the 1950-1953 Korean conflict. Technically, the two sides are still at war since no peace treaty has been signed. But for Kim the division of the Korean peninsula is a legacy of the Cold War between the two superpowers.

    The two day-celebrations of the 2000 summit began on Saturday with a press conference in which everyone was urged to work to reduce tensions and favour peace and democracy in the world.

    Meanwhile, concerns are growing that Pyongyang is planning to test a ballistic missile that might reach the United States. Satellite photos show launch preparations at the Musudan-ri facility in North Hamgyong province in North Korea's northeast.

    Former Soviet President Gorbachev has called on North Korea to give up its nuclear programme, which is condition for the United States not to intervene against the country.

    Tokyo, said Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, would take "stern" actions if Pyongyang launches a ballistic missile.

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    See also

    12/06/2006 NORTH KOREA - SOUTH KOREA - JAPAN
    Pyongyang using an old mother to duck abduction accusations
    After almost 30 years North Korea "finds" a man who was abducted to train as a spy and allows him to meet his mother. During his captivity he married a Japanese woman, also abducted, that Kim Jong-il had first claimed was dead.

    20/07/2005 JAPAN – NORTH KOREA
    Tokyo to demand total nuclear power ban on Pyongyang
    Government sources say Japan will ask for a total freeze on North Korea's nuclear energy programme during six-nation talks.

    03/04/2009 NORTH KOREA
    North Koreans to launch rocket probably tomorrow
    Send off is almost ready. Japan, United States and South Korea call for UN intervention, but Pyongyang’s ally, China, is likely to veto any fresh sanctions. Rocket launch allows North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il to shore up his power in a prostrate country.

    28/09/2006 SOUTH KOREA – JAPAN
    Tokyo-Seoul, dialogue on certain conditions
    South Korea's president is ready to renew contacts with Japanese leaders if they are sincere and stop visiting a shrine that honours Japanese war criminals.

    17/06/2005 NORTH KOREA – SOUTH KOREA
    "Dear leader" meets South Korean envoy
    Seoul calls the meeting totally unexpected. Analysts view it as breather inhe nuclear stand-off.



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