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NK Representative, “Willing to Meet wth Mr. Roh”

Posted January. 21, 2003 22:32,   


Kim Young-sung, chief representative from North Korea for the 9th inter-Korean cabinet-level talks, said right after arriving at the In-cheon International Airport on Jan. 22, “I am willing to meet with President-elect Roh if he wants.”

As reporters asked Kim at the airport if he is willing to meet with Roh, he answered, “He said he would like to meet with us.”

“But this time, I have come to Seoul for the cabinet-level talks,” he added. “After carrying out the talks well, if we have time and Mr. Roh would like to meet with us, I will meet with him,” suggesting that he will decide whether to meet with Mr. Roh or not depending on the outcomes of the talks.

In relation to this, Lee Nak-yeon, spokesman for the president-elect, said, “We have already made clear Mr. Roh’s view that he will have a dialogue in a candid and earnest manner. Both sides will discuss this matter.”

In the meantime, the two Koreas have opened the 9th cabinet-level talks from Jan. 21 to Jan. 24, the first high-level talk this year, starting with the reception dinner party presided by Prime Minister Kim Seok-soo at the Sheraton Grande Walker Hill Hotel in eastern Seoul. The two sides are expected to discuss various pending issues as the reconnection of inter-Korean railways and roads, opening the temporary roads and overland trips to the Mt. Geumgang, and the construction of the Gaeseong industrial complex. The result, however, is hard to predict because the government is planning to discuss the nuclear development programs of the North as a matter of urgent concern.

Before this, Kim claimed the needs for cooperation of the two Koreas in his statement at the airport, stressing, “The bigger and harsher the outside pressure is, the more ardent views of our people we should keep in mind. In this talk, both sides should display the strong will all around the world.”

Dong-Ki Sung esprit@donga.com