Indonesia's president to visit South, North Korea

Indonesia's president intends to visit South and North Korea in April to discuss ways to reduce nuclear tensions on the divided peninsula, officials said Thursday.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono will first travel to Seoul, where he will meet with his counterpart Roh Moo-hyun, said Nana Sutresna, Indonesia's envoy to the Koreas.

He will then visit Pyongyang, where he hopes to discuss the crisis with North Korean leader Kim Jong Il and other senior government officials, he told reporters.

"I believe Kim Jong Il will be willing to meet him," Sutresna said, citing close historical ties between Indonesia and North Korea.

North and South Korea remain technically at war because the 1950-53 Korean War ended in a cease-fire rather than a peace treaty.

Ties have warmed significantly since a meeting of North and South Korean leaders in 2000, but tensions persist over the North's nuclear ambitions.

Indonesia is also trying to arrange reconciliation talks between high-ranking North and South Korean officials in Bandung, a city 150 kilometers (90 miles) southeast of Jakarta, later this year, Sutresna said, reports the AP.

I.L.