In a joint news conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on May 9 in Berlin, South Korean President Lee Myungbak said,
“I offer a proposal to invite Chairman Kim Jong-il to the Nuclear Security Summit on March 26-27 next year if North Korea agrees with the international community that it will be firm and sincere about giving up nuclear programs.”
This is in line with a similar comment he made after the 2010 Nuclear Security Summit in Washington in which he said would “gladly invite” Pyongyang to the follow on Summit if the regime rejoins and complies with the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, and demonstrates clear commitment to denuclearization.
There are two notable points in Monday’s quote: Click Read More
1. The date for the 2012 Nuclear Security Summit will be March 26-27 – President Lee essentially announced the dates, which were apparently fixed before the world engages in a busy diplomatic and political schedule next April. Various summit meetings around the world and South Korea’s general elections are slated for April 2012.
2. Seoul extends another hand for inter-Korean dialogue if Pyongyang shows sincerity that it will surrender its nuclear arsenal.
President Lee added,
“This is a very good opportunity for the sake of a bright future of North Korea. I would like to say that North Korea’s future will be brightened if it comes forward to the international community.”
The latest proposal was widely seen as a way to help break the deadlock in cross-border relations while prodding Pyongyang to make a strategic decision to abandon its nuclear pursuits. It is also in sync with President Lee’s “Grand Bargain” pitched in 2009 in which North Korea’s nuclear stockpiles would be traded away for security guarantees and economic aid in a comprehensive package deal as opposed to a phased approach.
North Korea has demanded the unconditional resumption of negotiations, but Washington and Seoul are demanding the regime demonstrate sincerity for serious negotiations and denuclearization.
Seoul has already proposed inter-Korean talks prior to President Lee’s latest offer, but Pyongyang has yet to respond.
More to come, stay tuned.