Monday, January 12, 2015

South Korean leader open to summit with North

South Korean President Park Geun-hye has said that she is ready to hold a summit meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un without any pre-condition and urged Pyongyang to promptly return to dialogue.

Park told a televised news conference on Monday that an end to North Korea's nuclear programme should be an important part of discussions for peace on the Korean peninsula but it was not a pre-condition to having a summit meeting.
"My position is that to ease the pain of division and to accomplish peaceful unification, I am willing to meet with anyone," Park said. "If it is helpful, I am up for a summit meeting with the North. There is no pre-condition."
Al Jazeera's Harry Fawcett, reporting from the South Korean capital, Seoul said there appears to be a change in approach from Park.
"It is something of a change from the position she adopted through her presidency which is that she's open to a summit but only if there stands to be a real chance of progress gained from it and there will be no talks for talks sake." Fawcett said.
"With the recent statement on New Year's day by Kim Jong-un in which he said he was open to a summit if the conditions were correct, Park Geun-hye seem to have dropped the clause about only having a summit if there can be real progress. Now the likelihood of getting into an actual summit though is somewhat more difficult."  Fawcett added.
There is no sign of any concrete plan for a meeting between the two leaders. North and South Korean presidents have met only two times since the peninsula was divided at the end of World War Two.

Contradictory signals
The two sides are still technically at war since the 1950-53 Korean War ended only in a truce and not a peace treaty. More than 1.8 million troops are deployed on both sides of their heavily fortified border.
But Park's comments came after the North's leader Kim said in a New Year's address: "If the atmosphere and environment is there, there is no reason not to hold a high-level summit."
However, Pyongyang repeatedly sends out contradictory signals. 
On Friday, North Korea rejected a call by South Korea's parliament for a resumption of negotiations on various issues including North Korea's human rights, and families still separated by the Korean War. 
Park repeated the offer on Monday. "North Korea should respond to dialogue without hesitation," she said.


  1. South Korea is ready to hold a summit with the North with no string attached, South Korean President Park Geun-hye said at a press conference Monday....

    "There are no preconditions for the summit", President Park told journalists, adding both Seoul and Pyongyang should demonstrate their genuine resolve to settle a range of disputes, including North Korea's controversial nuclear tests.

    North Korea declared itself a nuclear power in 2005 and has since conducted several nuclear tests, raising concerns in South Korea and its ally, the United States.

    North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said earlier in his New Year's Eve speech he would consider a summit with South Korea and a freeze on nuclear tests if Seoul canceled joint military exercises with the United Stated planned for 2015.

    A previous meeting between two Korean presidents took place in Pyongyang in 2000 when the father of the incumbent North Korean leader, Kim Jong Il, was still in power.

  2. South Korea, US to conduct joint naval drill Jan. 13-14 ...

    South Korea and the United States will carry out a two-day joint naval drill on South Korea's east coast starting Tuesday, South Korea's Yonhap news agency said on Monday.

    The joint exercise will involve two US Aegis destroyers, including the 9,200-ton USS Mustin (DDG 89), which arrived at the port city of Donghae on Sunday, and Seoul's 3,200-ton Aegis destroyer called Gwanggaeto the Great-class destroyer, a submarine and two Lynx helicopters, the agency said, citing an anonymous South Korean naval officer.

    The planned drills come amid simmering tensions on the Korean Peninsula after the US rejected an offer from North Korea last week that it would halt its nuclear test should Seoul and Washington temporarily shelve their plan for joint military exercises this year, the agency added.

  3. The United States and South Korean navies are planning to carry out a two-day joint naval exercise this week in the Sea of Japan, Yonhap news agency said Monday...

    The exercise is scheduled to start Tuesday, the agency cited an anonymous source in the South Korean Navy as saying.

    The goal of the joint exercise is to improve the detection of intrusions into South Korean territorial waters, according to the source............


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