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Japanese PM Backs Pres. Lee`s `Grand Bargain` Plan

Posted October. 10, 2009 07:50,   


President Lee Myung-bak and Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama agreed yesterday to pursue the former’s "grand bargain" proposal to denuclearize North Korea under the six-party framework.

After his first summit with Hatoyama, President Lee told a joint news conference, “We agreed on the necessity of a fundamental and comprehensive solution to end North Korea`s nuclear development and closely consult with parties to the six-way talks on a package deal.”

Hatoyama said, “I think the grand bargain, a package deal proposed by President Lee, is a very accurate and correct approach,” adding, “We must deal with North Korea’s nuclear program in a overall and comprehensive way, and if North Korea fails to show its intent through action, we should not pursue economic cooperation.”

On Pyongyang’s rejection of the proposal, President Lee said, “I believe North Korea will review my proposal,” adding, “I’m confident the North will return to the six-party talks through bilateral talks with the U.S.”

Turning to past Korean-Japanese animosity, Hatoyama said, “It’s important for each and every official in the (Japanese) government and every Japanese national to recognize the importance of the (1995 Murayama apology),” adding, “(But) I urge Korea to understand that we need time to gain a public consensus.”

On suffrage for ethnic Korean residents in Japan, the Japanese leader said, “Personally, I will actively seek to reach a conclusion on the matter, (but) we need time to gain a public consensus.”

Hatoyama also said Japanese Emperor Akihito will positively review President Lee`s invitation to visit South Korea, adding, “His old age and schedule should be considered, however, and there is a limit to how much the prime minister can intervene in the matter.”

President Lee and Hatoyama also agreed to strengthen private economic cooperation, especially between smaller companies; launch a cultural exchange meeting as soon as possible; negotiate ways to flesh out a bilateral “green partnership”; collaborate in preparation for the Group of 20 summit in South Korea and the APEC summit in Japan next year; cooperate in dealing with climate change; and expand regional cooperation in Northeast Asia.

After their summit, the two leaders left for Beijing separately for the tripartite summit among South Korea, China and Japan opening today.