In 2009, North Korea's supreme leader Kim Jong Il set steep demands for holding a summit with the South, including $10 billion and half a million tons of food, according to former South Korean President Lee Myung-bak in a new book.
"The document [of demands] looked like some sort of standardized 'summit bill' with its list of assistance we had to provide and the schedule written up," said Lee in extracts seen by Reuters, referring to Pyongyang's request for 800,000 combined tons of rice, corn and fertilizer. "We shouldn't be haggling for a summit."
Upon receipt of Kim's demands, Lee says he chose not to acquiesce, scuppering prospects for negotiations between the long-time foes.
While North and South Korea have officially been at war since 1950 — separated by a slender buffer known as the Korean Demilitarized Zone — talks have occasionally been held, and new summits are intermittently proposed. Current North Korean ruler Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Park Geun-hye have not outright rejected the possibility of a meeting this year.