S. Korea’s parliamentary chief urges N. Korea to return to nuclear talks

TEHRAN/SEOUL-- South Korea's parliamentary leader has said North Korea should take cues from Iran and return to nuclear talks as he met with his Iranian counterpart in Tehran.

National Assembly Speaker Chung Sye-kyun pointed out Iran has enjoyed positive effects, including economic growth, from the agreement on its nuclear program two years ago.

Under the landmark accord with the P5+1 group of world powers -- the United States, Britain, China, Russia, France and Germany -- sanctions on Iran were lifted in return for taking steps to limit its nuclear program to peaceful purposes only.

"I hope North Korea will come to the dialogue table, taking the Iran case into account," Chung said Friday in a meeting with Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani, according to Chung's office.

In response, the Iranian lawmaker reaffirmed "active support" for efforts to resolve the North Korea issue.

North Korea has rejected calls for Iran-style nuclear talks, noting its situation is different from that of Iran.

The six-nation talks on ending North Korea's nuclear programs were last held in December 2008. No significant progress has since been made to resume the talks that involved the two Koreas, the U.S., China, Russia and Japan.

North Korea claims that it is a nuclear weapons state and views its nuclear program as a powerful deterrent against what it claims is Washington's hostile policy toward it.

Chung visited Tehran to attend the inauguration ceremony of Iranian President Rouhani, who was re-elected in May.

On Thursday, North Korea's ceremonial leader Kim Yong-nam arrived in Tehran for the inauguration ceremony, though it remains unclear whether Chung met with Kim.

Chung also met Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, sharing ideas on expanding exchanges and joining forces for peace on the Korean Peninsula.

"The South Korean National Assembly will support the enhancement of the two countries' relationship," Chung said.

The Iranian president also highlighted the importance of the security of Northeast Asia, saying the country will also lend support for the stability and development of Asia.

Rouhani also expressed hope over economic ties with Seoul, saying South Korean companies can seek business opportunities in various fields including energy, chemical, and other high-tech industries in Iran.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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