Lee Meets N.Korean Delegation

      August 24, 2009 09:22

      North Korea called for cooperation Sunday when a delegation attending the funeral of former President Kim Dae-jung met Preisdent Lee Myung-bak. The delegation led by Kim Ki-nam, a secretary of the North Korean Workers' Party, passed on a message from North Korean leader Kim Jong-il saying he wants to meet Lee.

      Cheong Wa Dae spokesman Lee Dong-kwan said the message was about the need for progress in inter-Korean cooperation and expressed a desire for the two sides to "solve all issues."

      Lee reportedly told the delegates Seoul is willing to talk at any time and any level, including a summit, but that in order to normalize inter-Korean relations, the North should make it clear it will abandon its nuclear weapons.

      President Lee Myung-bak (right) shakes hands with Kim Ki-nam, a secretary of North's Workers' Party Central Committee, at Cheong Wa Dae in Seoul on Sunday. /Courtesy of Cheong Wa Dae

      The delegates reportedly avoided the nuclear issue but repeatedly pointed to the special nature of the U.S.-North Korean relations.

      A senior presidential official said the Sunday meeting "led to a consensus between the South and the North on the principle that both sides need high-level government-level dialogue. But it remains to be seen when and at what level such dialogue will be held," the spokesman said.

      Another presidential official said any change in inter-Korean relations depends on what decision Kim Jong-il make once he is given President Lee's return message by the delegation.

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