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S Korea, Japan vow to work on DPRK's denuclearization
Updated: 2009-10-09 16:22

SEOUL: South Korean President Lee Myung-bak and Japanese Prime Minister Hatoyama Yukio met at a summit on Friday, emphasizing denuclearization of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK).

"The two leaders agreed on (the need for) a fundamental, comprehensive solution to North Korea (the DPRK)'s nuclear program and promised to closely cooperate to completely resolve the problem," President Lee said during a joint press conference held right after the summit.

"The two leaders, in one voice, also called for changes in the DPRK's attitude, urging it to return to the six-party denuclearization talks," President Lee added.

In particular, Lee and Hatoyama agreed that the nuclear issue should be addressed and resolved in a single step, which refers to the "grand bargain" that Lee earlier proposed while he was visiting Washington.

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The Japanese prime minister supported the plan, calling it a " completely correct" approach to realize denuclearization of the peninsula.

"We must find out North Korea (the DPRK)'s true intentions by pursuing a complete and comprehensive solution to North Korea's nuclear, as well as its ballistic missile, programs." Hatoyama said.

"We must not provide any economic assistance to the country if its willingness to quit the nuclear program is not shown," he added.

The two leaders also urged other countries, including China and the United States to jointly work for fully implementing the grand bargain program.

Making his first trip to Seoul since taking office last month, Hatoyama arrived at South Korea's presidential office at local time 11:00 pm (0400 GMT), writing "friendly love" in Chinese characters in the message book.

"The fact that it is Hatoyama's first trip made in the purpose of a bilateral summit reflects how the close relationship between the two countries," the South Korean president told the press conference.

During a one-hour-long summit, the two Asian leaders also shared views on measures to strengthen bilateral ties and further to enrich cooperation in the region, especially by constructing an "East Asian community."

The talks also dealt with a thorny issue of the history of the two countries, which involves Japan's colonization of the Korean Peninsula.

"Hatoyama said he hoped to develop a future-oriented bilateral relationship with integrity and an open mind, while facing up to the past," Lee said, commenting that he appreciated Hatoyama's views.

Hatoyama, in return, expressed his gratefulness to Lee for sympathizing with him, again stressing his government was one that could look straight into the history.

Meanwhile, the leaders promised to expand economic cooperation and cultural exchanges, and especially to put joint efforts on the G-20 summit to be held in South Korea in November 2010 and the APEC summit to be hosted by Japan.

The summit marks the second gathering between the two leaders after their first meeting held last month on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York.

They are scheduled to depart later in the day for Beijing to meet with the Chinese premier for a three-way summit.