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N Korea demanded $10bn cash for talks

North Korea demanded $10bn in cash and half a million tons of food in 2009 as a precondition of holding a summit with the South, former South Korean president Lee Myung-bak said, adding that he refused to pay anything for holding talks.

A predecessor, Kim Dae-jung, held the first summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Il in 2000 and was credited with bringing in a period of warming ties, an achievement that was tarnished later by a revelation that he helped channel $500m to the North.

The two Koreas remain technically at war because their 1950-53 war ended in a truce, not a peace treaty.

Lee, president from 2008 to 2013, said in a book to be published next week that he rejected the North's terms.

"The document looked like some sort of standardized 'summit bill' with its list of assistance we had to provide," Lee said.

A list from the North "as a condition for a summit" included 400,000 tons of rice, 100,000 tons of corn, 300,000 tons of fertilizer and $10bn in cash. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent