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S.K. Called upon N.K. to Accept Multilateral Talks

Posted July. 10, 2003 21:39,   


On Thursday, the second day of the 11th round of inter-Korean ministerial talks held at The Shilla Hotel, North and South Korea failed to narrow their differences in opinion, though they discussed pending issues, including the North`s nuclear issue.

During a keynote speech, South Korean Unification Minister Jeong Se-hyun stressed that South Korea does not allow North Korea`s nuclear weapons development and possession and urged the North to accept multilateral talks including the two Koreas, the United States, China and Japan, according to Sin Un-sang of the unification Ministry, a spokesman for the talks.

Mr. Jeong explained the international community`s concern and determined position toward Pyongyang`s nukes and called upon it not to worsen the current situation. And he said that if the North Korea nuclear issue is resolved peacefully, the North could be guaranteed security and inter-Korean economic cooperation could proceed fast.

Responding to this, North Korean envoy Kim Ryong-song repeated North Korea`s stance that the nuke issue should be dealt with between Pyongyang and Washington, the spokesman said. Mr. Kim pointed out that build-up of American forces stationed in Korea and the position of regarding the North as the South`s archrival heighten tensions on the Korean Peninsula, insisting on inter-Korean cooperation to hold out against foreign forces.

Meanwhile, the South Korean side proposed holding the 2nd round of inter-Korean defense ministers` meeting as soon as possible and establishing a committee for promotion of social and cultural exchange under the inter-Korean defense ministers` meeting.

Regarding the high explosives test which the head of the National Intelligence Service referred to at the National Assembly`s Intelligence Committee on Wednesday, spokesman Sin said, "We did not specify about high explosives. However, we think that the North understood our position because we conveyed the international community`s concern and a lot of problems resulting from North Korea`s nukes."

North and South delegations are scheduled to issue a joint statement after completing the talks on Friday. The North delegation will return home through Incheon International Airport on Saturday.

Ki-Heung Han eligius@donga.com