Tags: Seoul: | Kim's | Visit | Necessary | for | Peace

Seoul: Kim's Visit Necessary for Peace

Thursday, 06 September 2001 12:00 AM

Asked what he thought about joining Chinese efforts to encourage the North's reclusive leader to attend the summit, Foreign Minister Han Seung-soo said: "It is a totally separate issue from Mr. Kim's promised trip to Seoul."

"The inter-Korean summit in Shanghai, if any, would be no more than a meeting on the sidelines of a multinational conference," Han told United Press International. "Necessary is the summit here," he said. "The meeting of the two leaders in Seoul has a historically significant effect on reconciliation and peace on the Korean peninsula."

The North Korean leader agreed last year to make a return visit to Seoul at an "appropriate" time. But he has refused to fix a date for the trip, while freezing government contacts with Seoul. During his visit to North Korea this week, Chinese President Jiang Zemin asked Kim to participate in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, according to Zhu Bangzao, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman. "On this question, we also must see whether North Korea wants to," Zhu was quoted as saying.

South Korean President Kim Dae-jung and U.S. President George Bush are among the leaders attending the APEC forum. "If leaders of the four countries hold talks, they would be highly symbolic for peace in Korea," an analyst said.

At a senior journalists' meeting here, Han Seung-soo said he expects the early resumption of talks between North Korea and the United States, following Jiang's tour of North Korea. It was Jiang's first visit in 11 years to the neighboring communist ally. Jiang urged North Korean leaders to resume long-stalled talks with South Korea and the United States.

Seoul's chief presidential spokesman also told a group of foreign journalists Thursday that South Korea will press ahead with efforts to engage North Korea, despite recent setback triggered by a parliament decision to oust the minister in charge of North Korea policy.

"Engaging North Korea is the best policy option to secure peace and stability on the peninsula," Park Joon-young said.

The National Assembly Monday passed a no-confidence motion against Unification Minister Lim Dong-won, a main architect of Seoul's reconciliatory policy toward the North and played a key role in promoting inter-Korean exchanges.

Park said President Kim will conduct a major cabinet reshuffle Friday, which will be followed by replacements of key presidential advisors next week, in an effort to get through the political turmoil.

Copyright 2001 by United Press International. All rights reserved.

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Asked what he thought about joining Chinese efforts to encourage the North's reclusive leader to attend the summit, Foreign Minister Han Seung-soo said: It is a totally separate issue from Mr. Kim's promised trip to Seoul. The inter-Korean summit in Shanghai, if any,...
Seoul:,Kim's,Visit,Necessary,for,Peace
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2001-00-06
Thursday, 06 September 2001 12:00 AM
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