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Obama should not put NKorea issue behind Iran: Kim Dae-Jung

Former South Korean President Kim Dae-Jung
by Staff Writers
Seoul (AFP) Jan 15, 2009
Former South Korean President Kim Dae-Jung Thursday urged the next US president not to put the North Korean nuclear issue on the back burner while focusing on Iran's atomic activities.

Kim, who won the 2000 Nobel Peace Prize for a historic summit with North Korea's Kim Jong-Il, said President Barack Obama should pursue an "all-at-once package deal" -- with the US giving the communist state a security guarantee and diplomatic recognition in return for nuclear disarmament.

"The North Korean issue has already made a lot of progress through the six-party process, making it less intractable than the Iranian nuclear issue," he told journalists.

The six-party talks group the two Koreas, the US, China, Russia and Japan.

"The resolution of the North Korean issue is likely to add momentum to efforts to denuclearise Iran, making it easier to resolve the Iran issue," Kim said.

There have been concerns here that the North Korean nuclear issue might be upstaged by the fighting in Gaza and Iran's nuclear development programme.

Kim said both the US and the North should put all issues on the table and pursue a package deal to resolve all at once rather than a phased, one-for-one approach.

"This way of negotiation is more effective when it comes to dealing with a country controlled by one-man rule like North Korea," said Kim.

The US should give North Korea a security guarantee and access to the global economy while fostering diplomatic ties, Kim said. At the same time, the North should abandon nuclear weapons and its long-range missiles.

"Let us give North Korea what they want and take what we need from it," he said.

"It is a firm truth that Chairman Kim Jong-Il yearns for the normalisation of ties with Washington," said the former president who pursued a "Sunshine" policy of reconciliation and exchanges with the North.

"Of all North Korean authorities, Chairman Kim is the only man that can take a first step forward," he said.

Ex-president Kim urged current President Lee Myung-Bak to honour inter-Korean agreements reached at summits in 2000 and 2007. But he called on the North to halt its barrage of criticism of Lee.

"They have to understand that the South Korean people do not condone such reckless criticism ...their behaviour is counterproductive and has gone too far," he said.

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SKorean team to discuss buying NKorea fuel rods
Seoul (AFP) Jan 13, 2009
A South Korean team will visit North Korea this week to discuss buying unused fuel rods from its plutonium-producing reactor as part of a nuclear disarmament process, Seoul officials said Tuesday.

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