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Gov't asked Kim Jong-Il to meet Lee

Posted August. 17, 2000 21:09,   


President Kim Dae-Jung disclosed Thursday that his government had asked North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il to invite opposition Grand National Party (GNP) president Lee Hoi-Chang to Pyongyang for talks and said negotiations between the governments of the two Koreas on Lee`s North Korea visit are under way.

President Kim made the remarks in response to suggestions made by Kim Dal-Choong, president of the Sejong Institute, during a luncheon meeting with 120 scholars, including Lee Hyun-Jae, chairman of the National Academy of Sciences, at Chong Wa Dae.

Kim Dal-Choong was quoted as saying that the government should consider supporting the opposition leader and other leading politicians` visits to the North, noting that inter-Korean relations require supra-partisan consensus. Related Chong Wa Dae officials said that the government had asked North Korea to invite the GNP president through various channels and that North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il`s expression of his intentions to meet the opposition leader in a recent meeting with visiting South Korean media heads was related to the government initiative. The officials added that Pyongyang is understood to be seriously considering this matter.

Meanwhile, in response to the reports, GNP spokesman Kwon Chul-Hyeon said that his party has never received any formal or informal reports from the government regarding Lee`s invitation. The spokesman stated that if the government made such a proposal to the North Korean side, it should have informed the opposition of this fact beforehand and dealt with the issue in a transparent manner.