08/24/2009, 00.00
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Cooperation and nuclear question in talks between Lee Myung-bak and Pyongyang delegation

The South Korean president met with envoys from the North in Seoul for the funeral of former President Kim Dae-jung. In a verbal message referred by North Koreans officials, Kim Jong-il proposes a third inter-Korean summit. Lee confirms the position of the South: aid and cooperation, in exchange for a halt to Pyongyang’s nuclear program.

Seoul (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Future developments in relations between the two Koreas, marked by months of tension, must include the interruption of Pyongyang's nuclear program in exchange for massive aid from Seoul and the international community. These were the issues at the centre of discussions between Lee Myung-bak and a North Korean delegation, the first ever since his election to the South Korean leadership in February 2008, which took place yesterday at the Blue House, the residence of Head of State.

The summit began at 9 am and lasted thirty minutes. Lee received in his office, Kim Ki Nam, secretary of the North Korean Workers' Party (WPK) and the other members of the delegation in Seoul to attend the funeral of former President Kim Dae-jung, who died August 18 month.  

Lee Dong-kwan, South Korean presidential spokesman, stressed that the North Korean delegation delivered a verbal message from Kim Jong-il, in which the "Dear Leader" augured "improved relations and cooperation between the two Koreas” . In contrast, the South Korean president reaffirmed his approach to the North by renewing willingness to allow for "aid and joint development programs in exchange for the interruption of the nuclear program."

The office of the South Korea Presidency refused to disclose in detail the content of Kim Jong-il’s message, stressing that it has particularly "sensitive" implications. Sources of South Korean daily JoongAng Ilbo later revealed that the "Dear Leader" wants to organize a summit with South Korean President Lee Myung-bak. A third inter-Korean summit - said the anonymous source - "necessary" to confront and resolve "the problems between the two Koreas." 

Lee Myung-bak concluded the meeting by thanking the North Korean delegation for attending the funeral of the late leader Kim Dae-jung, architect of the policy of detente toward Pyongyang. "There is nothing that can not be resolved - concluded Lee - if South and North Korea give birth to a sincere and cordial dialogue”.

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