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South Korean Ambassador to Washington Meets North Korean UN Ambassador

South Korean Ambassador to Washington Meets North Korean UN Ambassador

Posted July. 02, 2005 03:39,   


Hong Suk-hyun, the South Korean ambassador to Washington, met with Park Gil Yeon, North Korea’s ambassador to the UN, at the New York Millennium Plaza hotel on the afternoon of June 30 (local time).

This is the first meeting between the South Korean ambassador to Washington and North Korea’s ambassador to the UN. The meeting was first proposed by Hong and attended by Wi Sung-lac, political minister at the South Korean embassy in Washington, and Han Song Ryol, the North Korean deputy ambassador.

Hong commented on Minister of Unification Chung Dong-young’s visit to Washington and the ceremony held in commemoration of the five-year anniversary of the historic June 15 Inter-Korean summit and talked about “the atmosphere in Washington,” stressing the U.S. administration’s commitment to resuming the six-party talks. A source in the embassy said that Hong added, “We hope North Korea will return to the six-party talks as soon as possible so that we can make great progress on this issue.”

Park echoed the words of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, saying, “We never said that we would not go back to the six-party talks.” He continued to stress that “dialogue needs two parties that respect each other. That is the only thing we want,” referring to President Bush’s remarks calling Kim a “tyrant.”

Hong responded, “You don’t need to pay attention to every remark made by Washington,” adding, “With North Korea (at the meeting), things will get better.”

At a meeting on the Korean peninsula held at Asia Society in New York hosted by the National Committee on American Foreign Policy (NCAFP), delegates from North Korea and the U.S. were seated side by side, raising speculation that Joseph DeTrani, the U.S. Special Envoy for the Six-Party Talks, and Rhee Geun, North Korean Foreign Ministry’s Director of North American Affairs might have discussed the terms and timeframe of resuming the six-party talks.

Henry Kissinger, former secretary of state of the U.S. and member of NCAPF said shortly after the meeting that “there was no discussion on the date, but the six-party talks will resume sooner or later.”

Kwon-Heui Hong konihong@donga.com