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President Lee emphasizes reciprocity in N. Korea policy

President Lee gives an address at a luncheon in New York on Sep. 21 (local time).Korean President Lee Myung-bak in New York proposed on Sep. 21 (local time) a new approach to dealing with North Korea, a so-called "grand bargain."

"Now is the time to disable the core parts of North Korea’s nuclear programs while at the same time providing the state with security guarantees and international assistance," the President said at a luncheon jointly hosted by the U.S. Council on Foreign Relations, the Korea Society and the Asia Society.

The President also said that North Korea would become engaged in a new relationship with the international community when it gives up its nuclear program. He emphasized that there would be no countries on earth that would remain hostile against a nuclear-free North Korea.

Lee also pointed out that the repeating cycle in dealing with North Korea of giving remuneration without visible results should not be continued any longer. He emphasized again the important role of close consultations among the members of the six-party talks apart from North Korea.

Presidential spokesperson Kim Eun-hye said that Lee’s "grand bargain" is different from the government’s previous North Korea Policy of offering a "package deal". The former was focused on giving one-sided assistance to N. Korea, but the more recent attempt is more about give-and-take between the two countries, Kim explained.

Before the address, President Lee had an interview with the New York Times and went to visit UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon at UN headquarters.

In his meeting with the UN chief, Lee presented his thoughts on responding to climate change, Korea’s expanded contribution toward the international community and issues on the Korean Peninsula.

President Lee spoke of the Korean government’s plan to voluntarily participate in greenhouse gas reduction in order to help the December Copenhagen climate change conference to reach a deal. The Secretary General welcomed the idea.

Lee also showed his willingness to expand Korea’s official development aid and peacekeeping operations activities, and expressed his appreciation for the UN chief’s efforts to better inter-Korean relations.

Later in the day, the president had a meeting with 13 representatives of Korean nationals living in New York and encouraged their efforts and achievements in contributing to the development of the local community there. He also explained the Korean government’s plan to strengthen bilateral ties with the United States and to pursue "low carbon green growth" policies.

By James Ro Staff Writer

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