Monday, October 19, 2009

U.S. official says Kim Jong-il invites Lee to summit

Chosun Ilbo reports that North Korean leader Kim Jong-il has invited President Lee Myung-bak for a summit, citing a senior official with the U.S. Defense Department.

The official spoke to a press briefing for journalists accompanying U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates on his way to Asian security talks and a NATO conference. He did not say when Kim invited Lee and what South Korea's reaction was, but publicly announcing a delicate matter between two third countries would still appear to be unusual in international protocol.

In a meeting with Lee after attending the funeral of former President Kim Dae-jung in late August, a North Korean delegation also expressed the North's intention to improve inter-Korean relations and delivered a message from Kim Jong-il citing a possible summit, the presidential official added.

Lee Dong-kwan, the senior presidential secretary for public relations, said, "President Lee has reiterated several times that he will meet chairman Kim any time for the sake of peace on the Korean Peninsula and for the future of the nation. But he has stressed that he opposes a meeting for meeting's sake and especially that any meeting would be meaningless if it is insincere and politically or tactically motivated."

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