A former South Korean president has claimed that Kim Jong Il, who ruled before the current North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, demanded $10 billion and large-scale shipments of food and fertilizer in 2009 in return for participation in inter-Korean summit, The Associated Press reported. Parts of the memoir by former President Lee Myung-bak, which revealed details about the relationship between the two countries, were released Thursday.
According to the memoir, Kim Jong Il repeatedly pushed for meetings and first expressed hope in August 2009 to conduct the inter-Korean summit. South Korea reportedly refused the call to participate in the summit stating that it cannot provide economic aid in return for the talks.
The effort to hold the summit had helped both the countries begin talks behind the scenes in 2009 in Singapore, Yonhap reported. The last summit talks between the two nations were held in 2007.
"North Korea demanded that Seoul offer the North 100,000 tons of corn, 400,000 tons of rice, 300,000 tons of fertilizes as well as asphalt pitch worth US$100 million and $10 billion to fund its establishment of the national development bank," Lee said in his book titled, "President's Time," which will be officially released on Monday, according to Yonhap.
Kim Jong Il continued to push for a summit with the South, but it did not materialize because he refused to acknowledge a 2010 attack on South Korea's warship Cheonan, Lee reportedly said in the book.
Four months after the attack, a high-level Seoul official had visited the North on Pyongyang’s request and demanded that the North apologize for the attack. Lee claimed in the book that during this time, North Korea again asked for "500,000 tons of rice for aid."
"In early 2011, I heard surprising news from the United States and China that the figure who visited Seoul was publicly executed. Some said he was eliminated by Kim Jong-un, who was prepared to inherit power from his father and the military," Lee said in his book, according to Yonhap.
Kim Jong Un, and current South Korean President Park Geun-hye said in January they were open to the idea of talks. On Friday, North Korea said it would resume the dialogue only if the sanctions imposed by Lee's government after the 2010 attack are lifted.