Sunday, October 11, 2009

Will Kim Jong-il buy into South Korea's 'grand bargain'?

Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao may have his own interests when it comes to North Korea, in appearing as a messenger between the two stubborn Koreas reluctant to initiate dialogue.

Wen met with leaders of both countries - the North's Kim Jong-il on Monday and the South's President Lee Myung-bak on Saturday - and conveyed Kim's message to Lee that he wished to mend fences with South Korea and Japan, as well as the United States.

While the indirect exchange of goodwill could help create a mood for the Koreas to come out for talks, it hardly means a change of position on either side.

President Lee Myung-bak reiterated, "The North must know that our purpose is not just to bring it back to the six-nation talks, but to reach an agreement on giving up nuclear weapons."

Lee also insisted on the "grand bargain," a one-stop package agreement calling for the North's irreversible denuclearization in exchange for security guarantees and economic aid from the international community, which Pyongyang has reviled.

The Korean Herald

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