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朝鲜代表团向韩国转达金正日口信

来源:天星 更新日期:2009-08-24 点击:

KIM SWITCHES TACK ON TIES TO SEOUL

Kim Jong-il, North Korea's leader, yesterday sent a message to Lee Myung-bak, his South Korean counterpart, calling for improved ties on the peninsula.

Although a tentative rapprochement has been building for weeks, Mr Kim's direct approach is a sharp change of tack from the North, which has always viewed the conservative Mr Lee as an obstacle to cordial relations. Pyongyang's state media have spent 18 months spitting vitriol at the South Korean president, furious that he has made aid contingent on progress in nuclear negotiations.

A team of North Korean envoys delivered the oral message to Mr Lee at a meeting in Seoul, where they were paying their final respects to Kim Dae-jung, the former South Korean president, who died on Tuesday.

The envoys left Seoul shortly before the funeral began.

Kim Dae-jung, who won a Nobel peace prize in part for his attempts to foster better ties with the communist North, was the South Korean leader most trusted by Kim Jong-il, experts say. His funeral has set the mood for rebuilding ties, and the delegation from Pyongyang was the first to visit South Korea during Mr Lee's presidency.

Both parties declined to tell reporters the specifics of what was discussed in their half-hour meeting. Still, South Korean officials said the mood was amicable and Kim Ki-nam, secretary of the North Korean Workers' party, said: “Things went well.”

Pyongyang has incurred tough United Nations sanctions for firing a missile over Japan in April and detonating an atomic warhead in May. Diplomats say the North miscalculated in its sabre-rattling and found even China was more rigorous in implementing sanctions than before.

Isolated in this way, North Korea has launched a charm offensive this month, releasing two US reporters to a team led by former US president Bill Clinton and a detained South Korean worker to a delegation from the Hyundai Group.

Bitten by sanctions, the North Koreans are looking to revive commercial schemes with the South.

Earlier this year Pyongyang sought to wring increased rent and wages out of the city of Kaesong, where South Korea invests, to an extent that Seoul said the investment was no longer commercially viable. North Korea is now taking a far more pragmatic line on Kaesong and is seeking to revive South Korean tour groups, which halted operations last year when North Korean soldiers shot dead a holidaymaker.

In spite of the North's attempts to return to international diplomacy, Seoul and Washington have both insisted they will not be blackmailed and that Pyongyang can only restore political and economic ties if it dismantles its nuclear arms.

However, North Korea says it will never compromise its security by giving up atomic weapons.

朝鲜领导人金正日(Kim Jong-il)昨日向韩国总统李明博(Lee Myung-bak)发出一条讯息,呼吁改善朝韩之间的关系。

虽然双方关系近几周来出现了一些试探性的缓和迹象,但金正日的直接表态,表明朝鲜的策略发生了重大变化——朝鲜此前一直将保守的李明博视为双方友好关系的障碍。过去18个月来,平壤的官方媒体一直在严厉攻击李明博,对他把弃核谈判取得进展列为对朝援助的条件怒不可遏。

朝鲜的一个代表团在首尔与李明博会晤时,向他转达了上述口信。这个代表团赴韩是为了吊唁上周二去世的韩国前总统金大中(Kim Dae-jung)。

代表团在金大中的葬礼就要开始之前离开了首尔。

金大中曾获得诺贝尔和平奖,而他得奖的部分原因,就是努力改善与共产党统治下的朝鲜之间的关系。专家们表示,金大中是金正日最信任的韩国领导人。他的葬礼为韩朝重建关系确立了基调,而朝鲜吊唁团是平壤在李明博任期内出访韩国的首个代表团。

双方均拒绝向记者透露,他们在半小时的会晤中具体讨论了什么事宜。不过,韩国官员表示,会谈气氛是友好的,而朝鲜劳动党中央委员会书记金己南(Kim Ki-nam)表示:“事情顺利。”

朝鲜在4月份发射一枚飞越日本上空的导弹,5月份时又引爆一枚核弹头,因而招致联合国的严厉制裁。外交人士表示,朝鲜在炫耀武力时错判了形势,结果发现连中国也比以往更为严肃地在执行制裁措施。

受到这样的孤立之后,本月朝鲜发起了一场魅力攻势,在美国前总统比尔·克林顿(Bill Clinton)率团到访后释放了两名美国记者,在现代集团(Hyundai Group)的一个代表团到访后释放了此前拘留的一名韩国员工。

在受到制裁的打击后,朝鲜正寄望重振与韩国的商业合作项目。

今年早些时候,平壤寻求在韩国企业投资建厂的开城工业区提高租金和薪酬水平,其开口要求的升幅之大,使得首尔方面表示,这些投资不再具有商业上的可行性。现在,朝鲜在开城问题上的立场务实得多,并正寻求恢复韩国旅游团访朝。去年朝鲜士兵开枪击毙一名度假者后,这些旅游活动陷入停顿。

尽管朝鲜作出了一些重返国际外交轨道的努力,但韩国和美国均坚称,它们不会接受讹诈,平壤只有放弃核武器,才能恢复政治和经济关系。

然而,朝鲜表示,该国绝不会为了弃核而损害自身的安全。

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