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(LEAD) S. Korea seeks denuclearization declaration from summit with N. Korea: official

All Headlines 11:49 April 03, 2018

(ATTN: UPDATES with another senior presidential official)

SEOUL, April 3 (Yonhap) -- South Korea is seeking a denuclearization declaration from the upcoming summit with North Korea, a presidential official said Tuesday.

The official said it's a "matter of course" to seek such a declaration because denuclearization is one of the three key agenda items for the April 27 summit, along with bringing permanent peace on the Korean Peninsula and improving inter-Korean relations.

The official spoke in response to a newspaper report that the South is seeking to produce a declaration of Korean Peninsula denuclearization during the summit between President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un at the border village of Panmunjom.

As to the solution to the North Korean nuclear issue, the official said the "Libyan style solution," often referred to in the media, would be difficult to apply if it means providing the North with rewards only after Pyongyang dismantles its nuclear program in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner.

The official also said that the media got the meaning of the Libyan style solution wrong, saying the United States provided rewards to Libya three times as the African nation abandoned its nuclear program in the early 2000s.

Another senior presidential official also said that despite much talk in the media of possible solutions to the nuclear issue, nothing has been decided, except that the problem should be resolved in a "comprehensive and phased" manner.

"An agreement will be made, and its implementation cannot help but be phased in," the official said.

The official also said it is an issue that should be agreed upon at the U.S.-North Korea summit. The official added that a new solution will be different from past nuclear deals in that it will be made in a "top-down" manner, not a "bottom-up" way.

The official said the South is now focusing on the upcoming inter-Korean summit.

"There will be pretty comprehensive discussions during the inter-Korean summit. Once its result comes, a lot of preparations will be made for the North-U.S. summit based on that," the official said. "Depending on what will be discussed at the inter-Korean summit, it will directly affect the North-U.S. summit. That's why we're now focusing on the inter-Korean summit."

The first presidential official said it was "too premature" to talk about a media report that the two Koreas and the U.S. are seeking to make a joint peace declaration during the U.N. General Assembly in September, even though "such an idea could be in somebody's head."

The official said the presidential office has no comment on the remark by top North Korean official Kim Yong-chol that he is the one that is accused in the South of being the "main culprit" in the deadly 2010 sinking of the South Korean warship Cheonan.

Kim, a ranking Workers' Party official in charge of affairs with South Korea, made the remark half-jokingly when he introduced himself during a visit to South Korean reporters at a Pyongyang hotel Monday to apologize for restricting their coverage of a concert by South Korean musicians in Pyongyang on Sunday.

Kim, a former top military official who headed the North's reconnaissance bureau, has long been accused of masterminding the sinking that left 46 South Korean sailors dead. His visit to the South for the closing ceremony of the PyeongChang Winter Olympics sparked criticism of the government for allowing the visit.

Asked about Russian news reports that President Moon decided to visit Russia in July on the occasion of the World Cup soccer finals, the presidential official said there has been no change in Cheong Wa Dae's position that such a visit is under consideration.
(END)

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