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.
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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