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Opposition Leader Refuses Kim Jong-il's Invitation

Aug 18,2000
The opposition Grand National Party President Lee Hoi-chang has declined a rumored invitation to Pyongyang by the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-il, saying,"now is not the time."

At a special press conference on August 18, Lee said, "As President Kim Dae-jung and the media chiefs have now visited Pyongyang, Kim Jong-il and the North Korean media should come to Seoul and see the South for themselves. If I abandon everything else and go to Pyongyang now," Lee added,"it won't contribute to a balanced improvement in North-South relations." Lee also criticized the Kim Dae-jung administration for negotiating his visit with the North Korean authorities without notifying him in advance, calling the move "reckless."

However, Lee added that he would be glad to meet the North Korean leader at an opportune time in the future and praised President Kim Dae-jung for arranging the reunion of separated families.

by Chun Young-gi




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