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Pres. Lee: No Compensation to NK for Summit

Posted February. 03, 2010 07:50,   


President Lee Myung-bak yesterday ruled out giving North Korea compensation in exchange for holding an inter-Korean summit.

“The two leaders (of the Koreas) must meet under the major premise of no compensation in exchange for the summit. We will not give up this principle,” he told a Cabinet meeting.

Presidential spokesman Park Sun-gyu quoted Strategy and Finance Minister Yoon Jeung-hyun as telling Unification Minister Hyun In-taek after the meeting, “There are many news reports about the summit and Cabinet members want to know what’s going on.”

President Lee said in response, “There are few things going on that the unification minister can answer.”

“The media are reporting many things on the summit, but the summit can be held only under this firm principle. If this requirement is not met, the summit cannot be held.”

The president apparently wants to send a message to Pyongyang that he will shun holding the summit just for the sake of holding it, adding he has no intention to make a trade for the summit, either.

President Lee had told the BBC in an interview Friday, “There should be no strings attached to the inter-Korean summit.”

Unification Minister Hyun told a news conference at the Foreign Correspondents Club in Seoul yesterday, “If an inter-Korean summit is held, it will hold no major significance if just North Korea’s nuclear issue is mentioned. Practical progress on the North’s nuclear issue is desirable.”

“A desirable summit will be a meeting that can help resolve North Korea’s nuclear issue and tackle a humanitarian issue – South Korean POWs being held in the North.”

On President Lee telling the BBC that he is willing to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, Hyun said, “This is what we hope for, and we cannot say this will happen within this year or not.”

“Given other circumstances and because 2010 is an important year for both Koreas, we hope this can be understood that holding a summit in this meaningful year will be a good place to discuss stability and peace on the Korean Peninsula. We cannot pinpoint the exact timing, though.”

yongari@donga.com zeitung@donga.com