S. Korean Prez: I'd Meet With Kim— Unconditionally

Countries' presidents have met just twice since WWII
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Jan 12, 2015 9:39 AM CST
South Korean President Park Geun-hye speaks during her New Year's press conference at the presidential Blue House in Seoul, Jan. 12, 2015.   (AP Photo/Jung Yeon-je, Pool)

(Newser) – The leaders of North and South Korea have met just twice since World War II ended, but Park Geun-hye, the South's current leader, is willing to change that, Reuters reports. "My position is that to ease the pain of division and to accomplish peaceful unification, I am willing to meet with anyone," Park said today. "If it is helpful, I am up for a summit meeting with the North. There is no pre-condition." So far, there are no plans for a meeting between Park and Kim Jong Un, and last week the North turned down the South's push for new negotiations on a range of issues.

In October, however, the North suggested talks between officials would resume, and Kim said on New Year's Day that "if the atmosphere and environment is there, there is no reason not to hold a high-level summit." Though messages have conflicted, a BBC analyst says that both countries' recent comments may point to less frosty relations. But also today, Park defended a law that resulted in the deportation to the US of Shin Eun-mi, an American born in South Korea, after Shin allegedly commented positively about the North. "We need the very minimum of law to ensure security in this country as we remain in a standoff with the North," Park said.

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