S. Korea admits it held secret meeting with DPRK

08:50, June 03, 2011      

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South Korea's point man on the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) admitted Thursday the two Koreas held a secret meeting but denied South Korea "begged" for summits.

Last month's clandestine meeting in Beijing was primarily aimed at persuading the DPRK to apologize for last year's two deadly incidents that killed 50 South Koreans, unification minister Hyun In-taek said during a parliamentary interpellation session. His ministry oversees inter-Korean affairs.

"North Korea (DPRK) says the South Korean government contacted them to hold inter-Korean summits, but it's like putting the cart before the horse," Hyun told lawmakers, adding Pyongyang's revelations further "hurt" cross-border relations.

His remark came a day after Pyongyang's National Defense Commission, headed by leader Kim Jong Il, claimed Seoul officials "begged" for three summits during a secret meeting in May.

The unification ministry here, calling Pyongyang's claims "very regrettable" and "unilateral," said it would not make an official response to them.

South Korea has long demanded the DPRK apologize for the fatal sinking of its warship and shelling of an island near the disputed sea border off the west coast of the Korean peninsula last year, which altogether killed 50 South Koreans.

The DPRK has repeatedly denied its involvement in the sinking and claimed its artillery bombardment on the island was provoked by military drills between Seoul and Washington near the disputed western sea border.

The National Defense Commission said Tuesday it will not deal with South Korea, calling conservative president Lee Myung-bak a " traitor" and threatening to cut off a military hotline in the east coast.

Source: Xinhua
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