North snubs Lee’s invite to Seoul nuclear summit

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North snubs Lee’s invite to Seoul nuclear summit

In a response to President Lee Myung-bak’s speech in Berlin Tuesday night, North Korea turned down his invitation to next year’s nuclear summit in Seoul, referring to Lee as “the enemy” and accusing the South of warmongering.

“Demanding our denuclearization as a prerequisite for talks is an attempt to disarm us of our weapons and take a stab at invading the North with the United States,” said the spokesman from the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland in an interview with the North’s official Korean Central News Agency. The committee handles inter-Korean affairs.

The report accused Lee of “trying to avoid alignment with us without talks” after mentioning the South’s president’s demand for apologies for the sinking of the Cheonan and shelling of Yeonpyeong Island last year.

Responding to the North’s statement, the South Korean Ministry of Unification said yesterday that it was “extremely regretful” and demanded the North take part in “sincere change.” The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade had a similar reaction.

“If North Korea’s refusal of the offer is its official stance, then it is truly disappointing,” said Foreign Ministry spokesman Cho Byung-je during a briefing yesterday.

The North’s statement came two days after Lee said he would invite North Korean leader Kim Jong-il to the Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul next year if Pyongyang shows sincerity about denuclearization.


By Christine Kim [christine.kim@joongang.co.kr]

한글 관련 기사[중앙일보]
MB, 김정일 초청 제의…북 “가소로운 망동” 거부

북한이 핵을 포기할 경우 김정일 북한 국방위원장을 내년 서울에서 개최되는 핵안보정상회의에 초청하겠다는 이명박 대통령의 ‘베를린 제의’를 사실상 거부했다.

북한 조국평화통일위원회 대변인은 이날 이 대통령을 ‘역도’로 지칭했다. 그러면서 “남조선을 세계 최대의 핵전쟁 전초기지, 핵 화약고로 만들어 놓고 그 위에서 그 무슨 핵수뇌자회의 개최요 뭐요 하고 희떱게 돌아치는 것도 가관”이라며 “그 누구의 핵 포기를 대화의 전제조건으로 내세우는 것 역시 우리(북)를 무장해제시키고 미국과 함께 북침 야망을 실현해 보려는 가소로운 망동”이라고 주장했다.

북한의 이 같은 주장은 이 대통령의 지난 9일 베를린 제의 이후 첫 공식 반응이다. 대변인은 천안함 폭침사건 및 연평도 포격 도발 사과에 대해 “대화를 하지 않고 우리와 끝까지 엇서려는(맞서려는) 흉심을 드러낸 것”이라고 비난했다.

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