Ban: Too soon to lift North sanctions

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Ban: Too soon to lift North sanctions

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Ban Ki-moon

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon indicated yesterday that it was still too early to lift UN sanctions on North Korea.

His remark comes amid the UN’s calls for humanitarian aid for the North as well as active diplomacy with the regime on nuclear disarmament.

“The sanctions by the UN on the North could be lifted, but it is not possible to predict when it will be,” Ban said during a Q&A session with local television journalists in Seoul.

The deadlocked six-party denuclearization talks - the resumption of which Ban has urged in recent months - shows signs of easing in light of a series of inter-Korean and Washington-Pyongyang contacts last month.

Despite the unresolved situation, Ban said the South’s current efforts to improve inter-Korean relations were positive and should continue.

“The most important thing is the efforts by the South-North authorities to widen cooperation through dialogue and to reduce the gap in mutual understanding and that should be done with patience,” he said.

He urged the South to provide humanitarian aid to the North, saying it would help bring reconciliation.

Seoul said on Wednesday that it would send 5 billion won ($4.6 million) worth of emergency food supplies to the North but not cement or heavy equipment as the North demanded, reflecting concern that the aid could be diverted to the North’s military.

The South came under two deadly military provocations last year: the sinking of the Cheonan, which the North denies, and the shelling of Yeonpyeong Island, which the North said was done in self-defense.

Ban said another inter-Korean summit, following two previous ones in the previous decade, would be the most necessary and effective way to patch up inter-Korean relations, though it is up to the South to push forward with the plan.

Asked about a plan to visit North Korea, Ban said he was open to discussing with the North the timing and the agenda of a possible visit but said he would decide when to visit after determining whether the visit could produce a successful outcome.

He briefly touched on the sizzling territorial disputes between Korea and Japan - over Dokdo as well as the naming controversy of the East Sea as the Sea of Japan - by expressing hope for a swift resolution.

Ban, visiting his country for the first time since winning another five-year term as the UN chief, attended yesterday the opening ceremony of the Global Model UN Conference.

At the conference in Incheon, Ban said he would focus his second term on delivering results on global issues through active cooperation with countries all over the world.

“If there is one theme that sums up my first term, and which will run through my second term, it is ‘new multilateralism,’?” Ban said at the event. “My pledge to member states is to make the United Nations even more effective and relevant.”

Ban also gave a special lecture to around 1,000 middle school, high school and college students gathered at the University of Incheon yesterday, urging them to take interest and participate in the works of the UN.


By Moon Gwang-lip [joe@joongang.co.kr]


한글 관련 기사 [중앙일보]

반기문 “남북 정상회담 절대적으로 필요”

반기문(67) 유엔 사무총장은 11일 남북 정상회담에 대해 “정상외교는 절대적으로 필요하며 가장 효과적 수단”이라고 말했다. 반 총장은 이날 여의도 63빌딩에서 열린 한국방송기자클럽 초청 토론회에서 “(남북 정상회담은) 이명박 대통령과 대한민국 정부가 결정해야 할 일”이라며 이같이 밝혔다. 다음은 일문일답.

 -방북 계획이 있는가.

 “걸림돌은 없다. 북한 당국도 방북 시기와 의제를 검토해 와도 좋다는 입장이다. 그러나 유엔 사무총장으로서 의제나 성공 가능성 등 여러 가지를 검토해야 한다. 양자 간 대화가 진행 중이거나 6자회담처럼 다자적인 틀이 있는 경우 우선순위를 가져야 한다. 그 과정에서 유엔 사무총장이 실질적으로 개입해야 할 시기인지 잘 봐서 검토하겠다.”

 -유엔 대북 제재가 이어지고 있다.

 “해제될 수 있지만 언제인지 예측할 수 없다. 현재 그런 여건은 조성돼 있지 않다. 제재(속)에도 대화는 계속돼야 한다.”

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