August 19, 2009 08:49
The presidential office on Tuesday said it "would not oppose" it if North Korea wants to send a delegation expressing the regime's condolences on the death of former South Korean president Kim Dae-jung. "If North Korea sends a condolence delegation, there will be no reason to oppose it," Cheong Wa Dae spokesman Lee Dong-kwan said.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-il apparently feels respect for Kim Dae-jung, who was dedicated to inter-Korean reconciliation and national unification during his lifetime and visited Pyongyang in June 2000 for the first-ever inter-Korean summit.
All major inter-Korean economic cooperation projects such as package tours to Mt. Kumgang and the joint Kaesong Industrial Complex, which are major income sources for the North, were initiated during Kim Dae-jung's presidency.
Following signs of a thaw in relations after Hyundai Group chairwoman Hyun Jeong-eun's visit to the North, the North is expected to send a senior official to Seoul to pay his respects to the late Kim Dae-jung.
When Kim Dae-jung was in the hospital with pneumonia in 2005, Kim Jong-il sent Kim Ki-nam, the vice chairman of the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland, who was in Seoul to attend a National Liberation Day event on Aug. 15, to the hospital to inquire after him.
Any such visit could be led by Kim Yang-gon, the director of the United Front Department of the Workers' Party and chairman of the Asia-Pacific Peace Committee, or Ri Jong-hyok, deputy director of the department and vice chairman of the committee.
Kim Yang-gon, who is in charge of external affairs, was on hand during Hyun's meeting with Kim Jong-il on Sunday. Ri, who has been a point man in business with South Korea, attended a memorial service for the late Hyundai Group chairman Chung Mong-hun, Hyun’s husband, at Mt. Kumgang.
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