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Politics/Diplomacy
2009/08/24 08:55 KST
Cheong Wa Dae denies report of N. Korean leader's summit proposal

  
SEOUL, Aug. 24 (Yonhap) -- South Korean President Lee Myung-bak is fully prepared and ready to hold a third inter-Korean summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-il if conditions are met, but no such summit has been proposed by either side, the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae said Monday.

   The remarks came in response to reports by the country's major dailies that the North Korean leader proposed holding a summit with Lee in a message delivered Sunday by a group of North Korean delegates who came to pay respects to late former President Kim Dae-jung.

   Lee met with three of the six-member delegation, including Kim Ki-nam, a secretary of the North's Workers' Party of Korea and close aide to Kim Jong-il, as part of what Cheong Wa Dae called the "protocol" for foreign delegates to the late Kim's state funeral.

   "There were only general discussions on the development of South-North relations at President Lee's meeting with the North Korean delegation, and no issues related to an inter-Korean summit, as reported by some news outlets, were discussed," the office of the secretary to the president for foreign affairs and national security said in a press release.

   An official from the office told Yonhap that the president and the North Korean officials agreed on the need to resume dialogue between their countries, but that the North Korean leader's message did not include any proposal for a summit.

   President Lee has repeatedly said his government, as well as himself, were ready to meet with their North Korean counterparts "at any time and any place," but only if North Korea sincerely wishes to resolve pending issues, including its nuclear ambitions, through such dialogue.

   Cheong Wa Dae spokesman Lee Dong-kwan said on Sunday that the president explained to the visiting North Korean officials Seoul's firm and consistent policy on North Korea.

   bdk@yna.co.kr
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