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Canceled trip¡¯s impact assessed

Posted September. 07, 2000 14:27,   


What could be the positions and damage control of the nations involved following the canceled visit by North Korea`s Kim Yong-Nam, chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme People¡¯s Assembly.

North Korea

The North might claim that its national pride is at stake. Reflecting the statement made by the North`s leader Kim Jung-Il, "The smaller the nation, it needs to have greater pride," the current crisis is an important one for North Korea. The incident should not be judged by Western standards.

However, the North has lost a great diplomatic opportunity. If the North had grasped the rare opportunity at the U.N. Millennium Summit well, it might have been able to rid itself of the long-established labels, "isolated" and "unpredictable."

North Korea must have been well aware of this opportunity. If so, a question of why must be asked. Some experts point out that North Korea is utilizing the visit cancellation as a way to express its dissatisfaction toward what it regards as an insincere attitude of the United States toward the efforts made for the improvement of the North-U.S. relationship.

It is true that North Korea has been dissatisfied with the cold response by the United States toward the North`s request to be removed from the list of terrorist nations, which the North had entered in the early 1990s. The North always has maintained that even the fundamental Geneva accord has not been activated.

In light of the North`s dissatisfaction, it can be considered North Korea, rather than sobbing and begging, has responded with a slap in the face, the experts say.

In light of the fact that merely being listed as a terrorist nation is a great shame to North Korea, it appears that the security inspection, which treated North Korea`s government officials as if they were terrorists, had crossed the line and became intolerable.

Accordingly, it appears that North Korea will apply stronger pressure during its missile and other talks for the improvement of ties with the United States. Aside from the question whether North Korea purposely had sought such aggravation, it will nonetheless effect the South-U.S. talks as well.

United States

On the surface, the U.S. government is not directly involved.

"The current incident was caused by the security inspection procedure of a privately owned airline," the White House and the State Department said.

However, for the chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme People`s Assembly Kim Yong-Nam to cancel his trip to the United States to attend a reception on September 8 by the invitation of President Clinton due to a failure to observe courtesy by an airline must be a burden to the United States.

As North Korea announces stern measures against the United States through its Ministry of Foreign Affairs, various ongoing talks with Washington might come to a halt. Should such be the case, it would lend an adverse influence on the South Korea-U.S.-Japan accord on the assistance policy for the North and could burden the United States.

South Korea

"The greatest damage will be rendered to South Korea," a source in the Seoul government said.

The plan and hope of South Korea to showcase the inter-Korean peace and cooperation during the U.N. meeting and the plan to garner the support and cooperation of the international community for the peninsula problem have been negatively affected.

At the U.N., which had served as an arena for the ideological battle between the South and the North for the past 55 years, the plan to jointly seek the chairman`s statement of support for the progress in the inter-Korean relationship has been quashed.

"If the inter-Korean relationship had advanced further, the North delegation might have solved the problem quite easily by contacting the South Korean Consulate in Germany," a South Korean diplomatic source said.

A sigh of relief could be heard around the nation, as North Korea publicly announced that the incident would not have any affect on the inter-Korean relationship.