Posted June. 18, 2005 04:32,
On June 17, the Unification Minister Chung Dong-young, who is participating in the Unification Festival for the fifth anniversary of the June 15 Joint Declaration in Pyongyang as a leader of South Korean government delegation, had a personal conversation with North Korean leader Kim Jong Il.
It was reported that at a reception hall, River Daedong, Minister Chung delivered President Rohs verbal message by promising comprehensive support to North Korea in the case that North Korea makes a strategic decision to give up its nuclear weapons and strongly urging the North to return to the six-party talks.
However, Kims response to the above messages from South Korea was not immediately available.
In addition, it was reported that Minister Chung conveyed the governments position that Kim should visit Seoul in accordance with the South-North Joint Declaration in 2000 and urged a prompt solution to a humane issue such as the settlement of unification of separated family members from both South and North Korea.
Its the first time that a high-ranking official of the current government met North Korean leader Kim. The incumbent unification ministers tête-à-tête with Kim is about five years after former minister Park Jae-kyu`s meeting with him in September 2000.
Beginning at 11:00 a.m., Minister Chung had an exclusive meeting with Kim for two and half hours, in which they exchanged their in-depth opinions on North Koreas nuclear issue.
Following the meeting, former Unification Ministers Lim Dong-won, Park Jae-kyu, who engaged in the June 15 Joint Declaration, Hankyoreh Newspaper Adviser Choi Hak-rae, and former third vice chief of the National Intelligence Service (NIS) Kim Bo-hyun attended the luncheon from 1:30 p.m. to 3:50 p.m., after Kim noted that he wanted to meet acquaintances he had met before.
Among the delegation of South Korean civil societies, the late pastor Moon Ik-hwans wife Park Yong-gil, President of Sangji University Kang Man-gil, and former chief vice-chairman of the Advisory Council on Democratic and Peaceful Unification (ACDPU) Kim Min-hah also joined the luncheon meeting.
Minister Chung departed Sunan Airport in Pyongyang with South Korean government delegation at around 6:00 p.m. on a chartered plane and arrived at Incheon Airport. Chung then directly went to Cheong Wa Dae and reported the details of the conversation with Leader Kim to President Roh Moo-hyun.
Minister Chung held a press conference at the Office of the South-North Dialogue located in Samcheong-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul that evening and announced details on his conversation with Leader Kim.
Meanwhile, a total of 300-person delegation from South Korean civil societies participated in the Unification Festival also returned via Incheon Airport on a separate chartered plane at 4:45 p.m. on that same day.