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ROK president meets DPRK delegation: Yonhap

Republic of Korea (ROK) President Lee Myung-bak held talks this morning with a delegation from the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) which is visiting Seoul to pay respect to late former ROK President Kim Dae-jung, a government official said.

Talks between President Lee Myung-bak and the visiting high-level DPRK delegation were held at the president's office.

The 30-minute talks were attended by DPRK delegates, including DPRK leader Kim Jong IL's close aides Kim Ki Nam and Kim Yang Gon, and ROK Unification Minister Hyun In-taek.

During the meeting, the DPRK delivered an "oral" message from Kim Jong IL to ROK President, Lee Dong-kwan, spokesman for presidential office said at a press briefing.

The DPRK also said that the two Koreas will have to "cooperate" on every issues they face, expressing gratefulness for the meeting, Lee said.

Meanwhile, the ROK president expressed his hope for continuing dialogue with "integrity," firmly restating the regime would continue with the current inter-Korean policy, Lee added.

The meeting is said to be held in a "serious, yet warm" mood, according to Lee.

The spokesman, however, did not identify whether issues related to four detained fishermen or resumption of inter-Korean talks were brought up during the meeting.

The meeting was widely expected to deal with thorny inter-Korean issues, such as the fishermen hauled by the DPRK authorities on July 30 and restart of inter-Korean dialogue.

"(The meeting) went very well," Kim Ki Nam told reporters right after the talks.

South Korea's presidential office said the meeting with the DPRK was part of the protocol for foreign delegates to Kim's funeral with the president scheduled to later meet with envoys from 10 other countries .

The DPRK "special envoys" arrived in Seoul Friday with a plan to stay two days, but later delayed their schedule by one day in pursuit of a meeting with ROK president.

The delegation was due to leave Seoul at 11 am to return to Pyongyang on a special flight, an official at South Korea's unification ministry said.


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