Millennium Post

‘North Korea demanded $10 billion for summit’

Late North Korean leader Kim Jong Il repeatedly pushed for summit talks with South Korea before his 2011 death but the plans failed because Pyongyang demanded $10 billion and large-scale shipments of food and fertilizer, a former South Korean president says in a memoir to be published next week.

Parts of the memoir by ex-President Lee Myung-bak, provided to reporters in advance, reveal that senior intelligence officials from the two Koreas made secret visits to each other’s countries to explore summit possibilities in 2010, when two deadly attacks blamed on Pyongyang killed 50 South Koreans.

Lee says a North Korea envoy who visited Seoul that year was later publicly executed after returning to the North.

The memoir comes as both countries float the idea of a possible summit between Kim’s son and current leader, Kim Jong Un, and Lee’s successor, President Park Geun-hye. It would be the third summit meeting since the two Koreas were divided 70 years ago, although chances seem low as the countries bicker over the terms for talks.

The first summit in 2000 prompted an era of cooperation between the rivals, but also became a source of criticism in South Korea. Conservatives said Seoul’s then “sunshine policy” of providing generous economic aid to Pyongyang with few strings attached supported the North’s nuclear and missile development.


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