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Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Indonesia invites North Korean leader to Jakarta

JAKARTA (AP): President Susilo Bambang Yodhoyono has invited North Korean leader Kim Jong Il to Jakarta for talks on how to reduce tension with South Korea, presidential spokesman Dino Patti Djalal said on Wednesday.Kim Jong Il, who rarely travels abroad, has said he "welcomed" the offer and also invited Yudhoyono to North Korea, Dino said. He said possible dates for both trips were still being discussed.

The invitation was passed to North Korea by Indonesia's special envoy to the Koreas during a trip to both countries last weekend, he added said.
It was unclear how Kim, who generally shuns planes, would travel to the Indonesian archipelago. During one of his rare trips to Russia, he went by train all the way to Moscow.

The offer is the latest effort by Indonesia to mediate in the dispute.
In January, South Korean Defense Minister Yoon Kwang-ung said during a visit to Jakarta that he would like to meet his North Korean counterpart on the resort island of Bali to discuss ways to reduce tensions between the two countries.

Defense ministers of the two rival Koreas last met in September 2000 on the South Korean resort island of Jeju after first-ever inter-Korean talks in June that year. The two nations remain technically at war because the 1950-1953 Korean War ended in a cease-fire rather than a peace treaty.

Ties have warmed significantly since a meeting of North and South Korean leaders in 2000, but tensions persist over the North's nuclear ambitions.
Indonesia and North Korea have historical ties.The country's first president, Soekarno, was a close friend of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il's late father, Kim Il Sung. Soekarno's daughter, Megawati Soekarnoputri, was Indonesian president between 2001 and 2004 and has kept up a friendship with Kim Jong Il.

The Jakarta Post
February 08, 2006

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