Lee invites Kim to nuclear summit

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Lee invites Kim to nuclear summit


President Lee Myung-bak, left, listens to explanations from Berlin’s mayor, Klaus Wowereit, as they visit the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, Germany, yesterday. [REUTERS/YONHAP]

President Lee Myung-bak will invite North Korean leader Kim Jong-il to next year’s nuclear summit in Seoul if Pyongyang pledges to the international community to give up its atomic weapons program, a Blue House official said yesterday.

Lee was scheduled to make the announcement yesterday in Berlin after a summit with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the official said. The summit was to end around midnight Seoul time.

South Korea will host the nuclear summit, at which leaders of about 50 countries will gather to discuss a nuclear-free world, next spring. The summit, following an initial meeting in the United States in 2009, will be the second of its kind.

“If North Korea firmly agrees to denuclearization with the international community, Lee intends to invite Kim to the next nuclear summit,” the official said. “If that happens, it will be an opportunity for North Korea to be guaranteed of a bright future.”

According to the official, Seoul had not tipped off Pyongyang to Lee’s proposition. “But we had a casual discussion on the issue with the White House,” he said.

For Kim to be invited, North Korea must clearly and publicly state its intention to end its nuclear arms programs. “The precondition is not to present a specific action plan because it will have to be materialized through six-party talks and other discussions,” he said. “What the North should do is make a pledge to the international community on its denuclearization goal in general. This will serve more of a political purpose.”

Relations between the two Koreas have basically been frozen since Lee took office in 2008. The nuclear standoff on the Korean Peninsula has seen little progress with the six-party talks, and tensions reached a new peak last year after the North made two deadly attacks on the South, although it only admits to one of them.

Rejecting liberals’ criticism that inter-Korean ties worsened because of his policies, Lee has made clear that the North must give up its nuclear arms programs for the peace and prosperity of the two Koreas.

Lee reiterated his position once again on Sunday when he addressed hundreds of Korean residents in Berlin.

By Ser Myo-ja [myoja@joongang.co.kr]

한글 관련 기사 [연합]
MB “내년 서울 핵정상회의에 김정일 초대”
비핵화 확고한 약속 조건
청와대 “적극적인 메시지”

이명박 대통령은 9일(현지시간) “북한이 국제사회와 비핵화에 대해 확고히 합의한다면 내년 3월 26~27일 양일간 (50여 개국 정상들이 참석하는) 서울 핵안보정상회의에 김정일 북한 국방위원장을 초대하고 싶다”고 밝혔다. 독일 베를린 총리관저에서 앙겔라 메르켈 총리와 정상회담을 한 다음 열린 기자회견에서다.

이 대통령은 “그렇게 된다면 북한이 밝은 미래를 보장받는 기회를 얻을 것”이라고 말했다.

 이 대통령의 유럽 방문을 수행 중인 청와대 관계자는 “ 통치자의 정치적이고도 적극적인 메시지가 담긴 발언”이라고 했다. 이 대통령이 언급한 ‘북한의 국제사회와 비핵화 합의’ 수준과 관련해 이 관계자는 “북한이 핵 사찰을 수용한다면 긍정적 신호”라며 “결국 6자회담에서 북한이 우라늄농축프로그램(UEP)을 포함한 전체 핵 프로그램을 폐기할 용의가 있다는 걸 밝히고, 나머지 5개국은 안보와 경제 관점에서 북한과 어떤 협력사업을 같이 진행한다는 계획이 나와야 할 것”이라고 말했다.

◆핵안보정상회의=버락 오마바 미국 대통령의 제안으로 2010년 워싱턴에서 처음 열렸다. 군축비확산 분야에선 세계 최대 규모의 정상회의다. 당초 ‘핵물질 안보’ 차원에서 1회성 행사로 기획됐으나 2차 서울 회의 일정까지 잡혔다.
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