S Korea not to seek inter-Korean summit for summit's sake: presidential office

19:35, January 05, 2010      

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South Korea will not seek a summit with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) if it is only to be a one-time event, and denuclearization of the DPRK would lay the basis of normalization of their ties, the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae said Tuesday.

"The basic principle on the summit is that we won't hold a meeting just for meeting's sake," a presidential spokeswoman, Kim Eun-hye said at a briefing.

"The inter-Korean relations would ultimately have to be upgraded to the level where the two sides can always meet and discuss issues when necessary, but conditions for the normalization need to improve first while the principle of denuclearization remains firm," she said.

The remark came after South Korean President Lee Myung-bak vowed better relations with the DPRK in his New Year's speech to the nation earlier this week, calling for a body for standing dialogue between the two countries.

But he renewed his call on the DPRK to return to the six-party negotiations over its denuclearization, saying there could be a momentum for further cooperation and a progress in nuclear-free Korean peninsular once the talks resume.

The country's point man on the DPRK, the unification minister Hyun In-taek, also reiterated his position last week that Seoul is willing to engage in talks at all levels, including the possible summit between President Lee and the DPRK's leader Kim Jong-il.

Seoul and Pyongyang held two major summits in the last decade, with the first in 2000 and the second in 2007, when the inter-Korean ties warmed under Seoul's liberal-leaning presidents Kim Dae-jung and Roh Moo-hyun.

But the inter-Korean ties rapidly soured after Lee Myung-bak came to office in February 2008 in a landslide election victory, partly won by his pledge to get tougher with the DPRK, ending a decade of engagement policies.

More recently, however, the icy relations seem to be inching toward a thaw, with Pyongyang accepting Seoul's humanitarian assistance amid talks of possibly resuming six-way negotiations.

Source: Xinhua
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