President Lee Myung-bak shakes hands with Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama before their summit meeting at Cheong Wa Dae, Friday, as first lady Kim Yoon-ok, right, and her Japanese counterpart Miyuki Hatoyama, left, look on. / Korea Times
South Korean President Lee Myung-bak and Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama agreed Friday to seek a "comprehensive" solution to ending North Korea's nuclear development through a package deal.
"We agreed on the need for a fundamental and comprehensive solution to the North Korean nuclear issue that will not lead to the negotiation tactics of the past, and we agreed to work closely together on a way to resolve the issue in a single step," Lee said in a joint press conference after his summit with the Japanese prime minister in Seoul.
The idea of a single-step solution was proposed last month by the South Korean head of state, who called for an end to North Korea's "salami tactic" of dividing its denuclearization process into a multitude of bargaining chips and demanding incentives for each of them.
Hatoyama said Lee's proposal for a "grand bargain" was a "completely correct" approach to denuclearizing the North.
"We must find out North Korea's true intentions by pursuing a complete and comprehensive solution to North Korea's nuclear and ballistic missile programs. Unless North Korea shows willingness to give them up, we must not provide economic assistance," the Japanese premier told the press conference.