The Korea Herald


N.K. diplomat calls for implementation of past inter-Korean deals

By 윤민식

Published : Sept. 7, 2014 - 15:40

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BERLIN, Sept. 6 (Yonhap) -- The key architect of North Korea's nuclear diplomacy called Saturday (local time) for the implementation of past inter-Korean deals as the first step toward improving bilateral ties.

The remarks by Kang Sok-ju, the secretary handling international relations within North Korea's ruling Workers' Party, come as the two Koreas' ties have been strained over Pyongyang's short-range missile launches and the South's annual military drills with the United States.

Kang, who brokered a nuclear deal with the U.S. in Geneva in 1994, arrived in Berlin earlier in the day on the first stop of a five-nation tour that will also take him to Belgium, Switzerland, Italy and Mongolia.

South Korean officials have said the trip appears to reflect the North's efforts to break its isolation.

Speaking to reporters outside his hotel in Berlin, Kang called for the implementation of past agreements that were signed between the two Koreas following their leaders' summit meetings in 2000 and 2007. The deals became the basis for reunions between families separated by the 1950-53 Korean War and a series of joint economic projects, including the industrial park in the North's border city of Kaesong.

"(We are) saying that we should implement them," Kang said. "Then, everything will be resolved."

The secretary also called for the resumption of the stalled six-party talks on North Korea's nuclear program without pre-conditions. Washington and Seoul have insisted that Pyongyang first demonstrate its commitment to denuclearization through action.

Kang's visit to Europe has drawn attention due to his possible meetings with Japanese and U.S. officials there.

Kang, however, said he has no plans to meet with Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida, who is scheduled to visit Berlin from Monday to Tuesday.

"I haven't brought any mission to resolve the abduction issue," he said.

Relations between North Korea and Japan have shown signs of a thaw after North Korea agreed to re-investigate the fate of Japanese nationals abducted by its agents decades ago. In return, Tokyo eased its unilateral sanctions against Pyongyang.

The U.S. and Japan have officially ruled out the possibility that their officials will meet with Kang during his European tour.