South Korean President
Hopes for Summit With North
(VOA) — South Korea’s next president says he would hold a
summit with North Korea if it would help get rid of the North’s
Achin reports from Seoul, President-elect Lee Myung-bak also wants stronger
ties with the United States.
Lee Myung-bak said Monday that a North-South Korea summit could
happen after he is sworn in next month.
He says he
can meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Il anytime, if it
would help persuade the North to give up its nuclear weapons
programs. He adds the next North-South summit should take place
in South Korea.
Korean summits have taken place in the North Korean capital,
Pyongyang, despite an understanding at the first summit in
2000 that the second would take place in the South.
Koreans criticized current President Roh Moo-hyun when he traveled
to Pyongyang in October for the second summit, a year after
the North tested its first nuclear weapon. They say the visit
bolstered North Korea’s propaganda image of South Korea as
a tributary state.
Lee said the agreements Mr. Roh made with Kim Jong Il at that
meeting will be scrutinized in his administration.
the October agreements were sealed in principle, but lacking
in details. He says his administration will study the implementation
from a perspective of feasibility and the burden on South Korean
summit agreement pledges the creation of a joint maritime zone
and massive South Korean investment in the North’s run-down
transportation infrastructure. Experts say implementing it
will require billions of dollars in South Korean money. Mr.
Roh’s supporters say South Korea will be responsible for such
costs anyway, if and when the two Koreas are reunited.
President-elect Lee says he wants South Korea to draw closer
to the United States – and that Pyongyang need not worry about
He says strengthened
ties between South Korea and the U.S. will be a help to Pyongyang.
and the United States are partners in multinational talks aimed
at ending North Korea’s nuclear weapons programs. The diplomatic
process would reward North Korean nuclear disarmament with
energy, financial assistance, and improved diplomatic ties.
Pyongyang has so far failed in its promise to provide a thorough
declaration of its nuclear activities. Mr. Lee’s transition
team says further stalling by the North could hurt North-South