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S.Korean president says she can hold summit with DPRK if it helps

(Xinhua)    15:27, January 12, 2015

SEOUL, Jan. 12-- South Korean President Park Geun- hye said Monday that she can hold a summit with Kim Jong Un, top leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), if it promotes inter-Korean relations.

"If necessary to remove pains of the division (of the Korean Peninsula) and open a door for unification, I can meet with everybody. The inter-Korean summit, I can do that if it helps," Park said in her third-year New Year's press conference at the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae. She took office in February 2013.

Park said there is no precondition for an inter-Korean summit, but she noted that it would be mandatory for the DPRK to have an open-minded and sincere attitude toward resolving issues through a dialogue.

"Without coming to a settlement on denuclearization" on the Korean Peninsula, the two Koreas cannot talk about the peaceful reunification, and the nuclear issue should be resolved through inter-Korean or multilateral dialogue channels, Park said.

Park's press conference came in response to top DPRK leader Kim Jong Un's New Year's address saying that there is "no reason not to hold the highest-level talks" with Seoul if a right atmosphere and environment is formed.

Possibilities remain low for the summit to be held in the near future as Park indicated the DPRK's sincerity toward an inter- Korean dialogue as a "veiled" precondition. Kim also commented on the need for "mood" for the summit.

Park urged the DPRK once again to come forward to the dialogue table "without any hesitation," saying that all of the issues, including those that the DPRK wants to resolve, can find a solution only when the two Koreas sit down face-to-face with each other.

Pyongyang has demanded the lifting of the May 24 sanctions, imposed by Seoul in 2010 when the South Korean Navy corvette Cheonan sank in waters near the disputed western sea border. The sanctions have banned all inter-Korean exchanges except for the joint factory park in the DPRK's border town of Kaesong.

President Park failed to mention any new incentives that could induce Pyongyang to accept Seoul's dialogue offer. The DPRK has called for the South Korean government to prevent civic groups from scattering anti-DPRK leaflets via balloons across the border, but Seoul has maintained its "basic position" that the authorities cannot intervene in an activity for "freedom of expression."

The DPRK's official KCNA news agency said Saturday that it had delivered a message to the United States, which proposed that it would take a "responsive" step such as temporarily suspending nuclear tests in return for a halt of Washington's joint annual military exercises with South Korea this year.

The South Korean military reportedly maintained its position that it will conduct a series of joint drills with the United States as scheduled. The "Key Resolve" command post exercise and the "Foal Eagle" field training drill are scheduled for late February to April. The "Ulchi Freedom Guardian (UFG)" computer- assisted simulation exercise tends to kick off in mid-August.

Park offered again to hold a reunion event of Korean families separated during the 1950-53 Korean War around the Lunar New Year' s holiday that falls in mid-February this year. She asked the DPRK to be open-minded on the issue, saying time is running out for the old age of those separated families.

Around 22,000 Koreans met their long-lost relatives through 19 rounds of family reunions from 1985 to 2014, but more than 70,000 South Koreans have been on the waiting list for reunion since 1988. All applicants are likely to pass away within 20 years for the old age.

The two Koreas held a senior-level contact in February 2014, and it resulted in the reunion event. In October last year, the DPRK agreed to the second high-level contact, but it failed as South Korean civic groups floated leaflets against the DPRK regime despite Pyongyang's strong opposition.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Editor:Ma Xiaochun,Zhang Qian)

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