S Korean president says open to summit with North's Kim, no pre-condition

S Korean president says open to summit with North's Kim, no pre-condition
South Korea's President Park Geun-hye arrives at the G20 Terminal in Brisbane, in this November 14, 2014 handout photo provided by G20 Australia.

SEOUL - South Korean President Park Geun-hye said on Monday she was open to holding a summit meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un without any pre-condition and urged Pyongyang to promptly return to dialogue.

An end to North Korea's nuclear programme should be an important part of discussions for peace on the Korean peninsula but it was not a pre-condition to having a summit meeting, Park told a televised news conference.

"My position is that to ease the pain of division and to accomplish peaceful unification, I am willing to meet with anyone," Park said. "If it is helpful, I am up for a summit meeting with the North. There is no pre-condition."

There is no sign of any concrete plan for a meeting between the two leaders. North and South Korean presidents have met only two times since the peninsula was divided at the end of World War Two.

The two sides are still technically at war since the 1950-53 Korean War ended only in a truce and not a peace treaty. More than 1.8 million troops are deployed on both sides of their heavily fortified border.

But Park's comments come after the North's leader Kim said in a New Year's address: "If the atmosphere and environment is there, there is no reason not to hold a high-level summit." However, Pyongyang repeatedly sends out contradictory signals.

On Friday, North Korea rejected a call by South Korea's parliament for a resumption of negotiations on various issues including North Korea's human rights, and families still separated by the Korean War.

Park repeated the offer on Monday. "North Korea should respond to dialogue without hesitation," she said.

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