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August 23, 2009

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Lee to meet delegates

REPUBLIC of Korea's President Lee Myung-bak will meet today with a delegation from the Democratic People's Republic of Korea which is visiting Seoul to pay respect to late former President Kim Dae-jung, the South Korean government said yesterday.

"The North delegation is scheduled to pay a visit to President Lee Myung-bak before 10am Sunday," Unification Ministry spokesman Chun Hae-sung said.

The meeting is expected to last around 15 minutes during which a message from DPRK leader Kim Jong-il will be delivered to President Lee, local media reported.

The meeting will also deal with the issue of four South Korean fishermen who have been detained in the DPRK since July 30, as well as resumption of inter-Korean dialogue, according to the reports.

The six North Korean officials arrived in South Korea on Friday to mourn late former President Kim Dae-jung, a champion of inter-Korean dialogue who died on Tuesday. It is the first time the North has sent a delegation to mourn a South Korean leader.

Any meeting with Lee would be significant because relations between Pyongyang and Seoul have been tense since Lee took office in February 2008.

South Korea's Yonhap news agency, citing a source it did not identify, said the delegation was carrying a letter from North Korean leader Kim Jong-il.

On Friday, the North Korean officials offered a floral wreath to the late president, who was beloved on both sides of the border.

His funeral is today.


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