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

Countries' presidents have met just twice since WWII
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 12, 2015 9:39 AM CST
S. Korean Prez: I'd Meet With Kim— Unconditionally
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.

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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. (Read more South Korea stories.)

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