UN chief welcomes proposed Seoul-Pyongyang talks

United Nations, Dec 30 (IANS) UN Secretary General Ban Ki- moon Monday welcomed the proposal of South Korea for high-level dialogue with Pyongyang.

In a statement released here, Ban said he sincerely hoped that North Korea authorities would positively consider the proposal and engage in dialogue.
“The secretary general reiterates his belief that renewed engagement and dialogue is the only way forward for building trust and promoting inter-Korean relations. He will not spare any efforts to support such meaningful engagement,” Xinhua quoted the statement as saying.
South Korea’s top policymaker in charge of inter-Korean relations said earlier Monday that he has offered to hold a dialogue in January next year with the North Koea on issues of mutual concern.
“The Preparatory Committee for Reunification officially proposed to the North holding talks about issues of mutual concern in January next year,” Unification Minister Ryoo Kihl-jae said at a press briefing.
Ryoo said South Korea has sent a notice for the dialogue offer, expressing hopes for North Korea to actively respond to the proposal. The notice was sent to Kim Yang Gon, director of the DPRK’s United Front Department in charge of Seoul-Pyongyang relations, under the name of Ryoo and Chung Chong-wook, former South Korean ambassador to China.
The proposed talks can be held in Seoul, Pyongyang or other places convenient for both sides, Ryoo said, noting that he hoped to meet with the North side to relieve the sorrow of families, separated by the 1950-53 Korean War, before the Lunar New Year’s holiday that falls in late February.