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No Talks with N.Korea without Public Support: Pres. Lee

Posted March. 27, 2008 08:13,   


President Lee Myung-bak promised, yesterday, “We will never talk with North Korea against the will of our citizens. The Unification Ministry must change its approach in dealing with the North.”

Attending a briefing session with the ministry, yesterday morning, Lee added, “Conducting inter-Korean exchanges and talks should be transparent, abiding by rules recognized by the international community.”

“The most important principles are incorporated in the 1991 Basic Agreement [between North and South Koreas], and we ought to honor them. One of the principles of the agreement is North Korea’s pledge of nonproliferation,” stressed President Lee.

Lee added, “If the nuclear issue drags on, the North Korean regime cannot realize stability. Once this issue is resolved, there will be peace on the Korean Peninsula and North Korea will be able to economically stand on its own feet. To induce the North to give up its nuclear ambition, we have to concentrate our efforts through the six-party talks. We are making preparations to cooperate with our North Korean counterpart, once these pending matters are resolved through international cooperation.”

“We shall love North Korean citizens as much as we love our citizens. Thus, we will continue sending aid to them,” said President Lee. But he emphasized, “North Korea should help us with our humanitarian causes such as the return South Korean POWs and kidnapped victims taken to the North.”

President Lee also highlighted the need to improve various aspects of the Mt. Geumgang tour program and the Gaesong Industrial Complex.

“These programs themselves shall be continued. But without improvement or desirable resolution of outstanding issues, we cannot fully engage in inter-Korean programs and projects,” said Lee.