France hopes N. Korea will 'find freedom' after Kim death

19th December 2011, Comments 0 comments

France was keeping a close eye on the situation in North Korea on Monday following the death of leader Kim Jong-Il and said it hoped the isolated nation's people would find freedom.

"We are very watchful of the consequences of this succession, hoping that one day the people of North Korea will be able to find freedom," Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said in the city of Bordeaux.

"The death of a man is never something to be cheered, but it is the sad suffering of a people that is important," Juppe said.

North Korea is "a completely closed regime," he said, adding that North Korea's nuclear programme was the reason "we are watchful" of the situation in the country.

"There is a process of dialogue with North Korea that has highs and lows. This dialogue must continue, with China and the other participants, so that North Korea renounces its nuclear weapons," he said.

The former French presidential envoy to North Korea, Jack Lang, said Kim's death represented an opportunity to relaunch talks with North Korea.

"We must seize this opportunity in agreement with the United States, South Korea, China and Japan to launch a great negotiation," Lang, a former culture minister, told AFP.

"This could create some sort of opening," he said, adding that it was still unclear what policies Kim's youngest son and heir apparent Kim Jong-Un would pursue.

"Will Kim Jong-Un inspire a new policy, a different style? I can't say," he said.

France is the only major European country that does not have diplomatic relations with North Korea.

© 2011 AFP

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