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Lee, Kan discuss FTA, North Korea and G20

TORONTO, Canada -- President Lee Myung-bak and Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan on Saturday agreed to continue efforts to resume talks for a bilateral free trade deal, which have been stalled since 2004, during a summit here.

In the first Korea-Japan summit since Kan took office early this month, the Japanese premier reaffirmed Tokyo’s support for Seoul’s stance on the sinking of the Cheonan and vowed to make efforts for a “new future” for the two countries without overlooking Japan’s past wrongdoings, Lee’s aides said.

The two leaders also discussed issues of mutual concern including the North Korean nuclear problem and agreed to cooperate for the successful hosting of the G20 summit in Seoul and the APEC summit in Yokohama in November.

Lee’s talks with Kan came after the Korean president’s summit with U.S. President Barack Obama, who also supports Seoul’s push for a U.N. Security Council action against the North.

Lee also met with U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon before attending a welcoming ceremony of the G20 summit Saturday evening.
President Lee Myung-bak visits the Meadowvale Cemetery in Brampton near Toronto on Saturday to pay tribute to the Canadian soldiers who gave their lives in the 1950-53 Korean War. Yonhap News
President Lee Myung-bak visits the Meadowvale Cemetery in Brampton near Toronto on Saturday to pay tribute to the Canadian soldiers who gave their lives in the 1950-53 Korean War. Yonhap News

Ban said Korea’s newly established global think tank on green growth strategies will play a key role in the launch of a U.N. high-level panel on global sustainability.

“The Global Green Growth Institute will play an important role in the launch of the U.N. panel which will operate in liaison with (preparations for) the global climate change summit in Rio De Janeiro scheduled for 2012,” the U.N. secretary general said.

The U.N. has launched a high-level panel on climate change as well, and is to operate an advocacy group for the U.N.’s Millennium Development Goals, Ban added.

Ban also appreciated Seoul’s addition of the global safety nets and development to the agenda of the next G20 summit in November, asking Lee to give a keynote speech at the MDG summit in New York in September.

Regarding cooperation for development, Lee said that “businesses’ social responsibility” will be a core theme of a business summit to be held alongside the G20 summit in Seoul, according to Lee’s aides.

Earlier Saturday, Lee visited the Meadowvale Cemetery in Brampton near Toronto to pay tribute to the Canadian soldiers who gave their lives in the 1950-53 Korean War.

He was scheduled to hold summit talks with Chinese President Hu Jintao on Sunday after the final G20 summit session.

By Kim So-hyun
Korea Herald correspondent
(sophie@heraldcorp.com)
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