Clinton ‘absolutely in sync’ with South over North: Source says

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Clinton ‘absolutely in sync’ with South over North: Source says

The United States is intent on backing South Korea in its decisions regarding North Korea, with a South Korean diplomatic official saying yesterday that U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had reaffirmed ties with South Korea during her trip to the Korean Peninsula last week.

“North Korea cannot divide us,” Clinton told South Korean President Lee Myung-bak early last week, according to a diplomatic source who told the JoongAng Ilbo.

The secretary of state had firmly told Lee that the U.S. and South Korea are “absolutely in sync,” contradicting rumors that the two countries had differences of opinions regarding inter-Korean talks and food aid to North Korea.

According to the source, Clinton had emphasized that the U.S. would let the South Korean government “take the lead,” with the U.S. providing support for its decisions.

The affirmation comes after questions were raised whether the U.S. and South Korea were divided on its North Korean policies. Clinton also told the South Korean president that the U.S. would not be hasty in making any decision on giving food aid to the North, out of respect to the South.

The South Korean government currently has no plans to give food aid to the North. Minister of Unification Hyun In-taek said yesterday during a luncheon meeting that the South Korean government “believe that the North’s food shortage this year is not particularly much worse than in the previous years.”

North Korea has also asked for separate talks with each of the two countries, but the U.S. has remained firm that North Korea will not be able to talk with another country until it has held bilateral talks with the South.

The alliance between the U.S. and South Korea comes as former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and some of his colleagues from the Elders Group land in North Korea today after stopping in Beijing, possibly to speak with North Korean Kim Jong-il and his heir-apparent Kim Jong-un.


By Kang Chan-ho, Christine Kim [christine.kim@joongang.co.kr]

한글 관련 기사 [연합]
"힐러리, MB에게 남북대화 제안"

힐러리 클린턴 미국 국무장관이 지난 17일 방한시 이명박 대통령에게 남북 대화를 제안했다고 아사히신문이 25일 보도했다.

북핵 문제 해결을 위한 6자회담에 앞서 남북 수석 대표 회담을 열 필요성이 있다고 재촉했다는 것이다.

이 신문은 클린턴 장관이 "운전석에 앉아있는 것은 한국"이라고 전제했지만 "북한의 성의를 확인하기 위해서라도 한번 만나보는 게 어떻겠느냐"고 타진했다고 전했다.

이에 대해 이 대통령은 "북한의 진심을 확인할 때까지는 만날 수 없다"며 6자회담 예비회담 등을 통해 북한이 구체적인 비핵화 조처를 할 의사가 있는지 사전에 확인할 필요가 있다는 뜻을 밝혔다고 신문은 덧붙였다.

클린턴 장관이 대북 식량 지원을 검토 중이라고 설명한 데 대해서도 이 대통령은 북한이 먼저 일련의 무력도발에 대해 사죄해야 한다는 인식을 보였다고 신문은 적었다.

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