Park chairs first Unification Committee meeting

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Park chairs first Unification Committee meeting

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President Park Geun-hye presides over her first meeting of the Presidential Committee for Unification Preparation, which she chairs, at the Blue House yesterday in central Seoul. [NEWSIS]

During her first meeting presiding over the Presidential Committee for Unification Preparation, President Park Geun-hye said yesterday that she did not want North Korea to be isolated from the outside world and expressed her desire for the regime to be a reliable member of the international community.

With the committee’s 50 members, who come from both the public and private sectors, Park led in-depth discussions on the goal and roles of the organization for the “peaceful reunification” of the two Koreas, according to Ju Chul-ki, the senior presidential secretary for foreign affairs, at a briefing yesterday.

Chaired by Park, the committee is comprised of 30 experts from the private sector, two National Assembly representatives, 11 government officials and six heads of state-run research institutes.

At the talks, one of the more interesting questions the president was asked by the members was whether she wanted North Korea to be isolated from the international community or to reform and open up its economy.

“The point of the trust-building process on the Korean Peninsula is to urge North Korea to come out as a responsible member of the international community,” she said, according to the briefing. “The goal of the government is not the isolation of North Korea, but rather urging it to stop isolating itself [from the outside world] and to participate in Northeast Asia’s cooperation plans.

“As long as we do not violate international cooperation for [UN] sanctions against the regime, the government will expand interactions and cooperation with the regime, starting with what we can do right now with North Korea,” Park said.

At the first meeting, the committee members agreed on legislation for “a charter for unification,” and gathering public opinions on how to effectively prepare for unification.

BY KIM HEE-JIN [heejin@joongang.co.kr]





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