Seoul may send envoy to North for summit

Jan. 8, 2007 at 7:13 AM
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SEOUL, Jan. 8 (UPI) -- South Korea may consider sending a special envoy to North Korea to arrange a cross-border summit, a senior Seoul official said Monday.

"An exchange of special envoys may be needed not only to arrange a second inter-Korean summit but also to mend strained ties following the North's nuclear test (last year)," Unification Minister Lee Jae-joung said in an interview with Seoul's Yonhap News Agency.

"The establishment of a peace regime on the Korean peninsula should be the number one topic of a second inter-Korean summit," said the South's pointman on the North.

The remarks come amid speculation that Seoul was pushing for an inter-Korean summit to influence South Korea's presidential election later this year.

Seoul's polling agencies say an inter-Korean summit can boost the popularity of the ruling camp which has sought reconciliation with the North. According to surveys, more than 70 percent of South Korean people expect the opposition and anti-communist Grand National Party to take power in December's presidential election.

North and South Korea held their first-ever summit talks in 2000 which produced landmark agreements on cross-border cooperation and exchanges. But the cross-border reconciliatory mood has been overshadowed by the North's missile and nuclear tests last year.

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