May 11, 2011 09:24
President Lee Myung-bak says he will invite Kim Jong-il to an international nuclear summit in South Korea next year if the North Korean leader makes a firm commitment to scrapping his nuclear weapons program.
In Berlin on Monday on the first leg of his three-nation tour of Europe, Lee said, "If North Korea agrees with the international community to commit firmly to denuclearization, I will offer North Korean leader Kim Jong-il to attend the nuclear security summit" in Seoul next March.
He was speaking at a press conference after a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Lee added that the nuclear summit would be a "good opportunity" for the North and that it would see a brighter future if it joins the international community.
Lee said North Korea's commitment to denuclearization would be demonstrated by apologizing for the attacks against the Navy corvette Cheonan and Yeonpyong Island last year. An apology is also a prerequisite to resuming the stalled six-party nuclear talks and other inter-Korean business, he added.
Earlier, Lee told Korean residents in Germany on Sunday, "We are seeking an apology from North Korea. It must acknowledge its wrongdoings to ensure that such acts are not repeated." An official at the presidential office, providing the customary gloss on presidential remarks, said, "It is important for North Korea to allow back nuclear inspectors and halt its uranium enrichment program." He added that the North's denuclearization efforts need to be acknowledged by the international community by setting a deadline.
Lee also told the Korean expatriates that Korean reunification is inevitable because it is better for the Korean people.
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