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Did NK Leader Invite Pres. Lee to Pyongyang?

Posted October. 19, 2009 05:01,   


A U.S. Defense Department official’s claim that North Korean leader Kim Jong Il invited South Korean President Lee Myung-back to visit Pyongyang has caused a stir between Seoul and Washington.

The presidential office of Cheong Wa Dae in Seoul immediately denied that such offer had been made.

Ahead of U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates’ visit to Seoul, a top Defense Department official told an advance briefing in Washington Wednesday that North Korea’s stance on the U.S. has moved from provocation to a sudden “charm offensive.”

He added that through Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao, Kim expressed his willingness to invite President Lee to Pyongyang.

This was denied Sunday by Lee Dong-kwan, President Lee’s top public relations officer.

“The possibility of an inter-Korean summit was discussed on the condition of improvement in inter-Korean relations at the South Korea-China summit in Beijing Oct. 10,” Lee Dong-kwan said. “We delivered these facts to the U.S. administration for the sake of information sharing, but there seems to have been misunderstanding.”

“The president has expressed his willingness to meet Kim whenever possible if it is for the Korean Peninsula and its people’s future on a number of occasions. But an inter-Korean summit just for the sake of meeting itself cannot be allowed.”

He added, “A meeting driven by political and tactical motivations without sincerity will be meaningless.”