Go to contents

North Korea-U.S. talks to begin

Posted October. 01, 2000 20:25,   


The South Korean government reported that the planned visit to the U.S. by Vice Marshall Cho Myong-Rok, the No. 2 man in the North Korean military after Kim Jong-il, as a special envoy is of great significance but that the outcome of the talks depend greatly on the North's willingness. Presidential press secretary Park Joon-Young stated that the visit by Vice Marshall Cho was important and that a breakthrough in relations between the North Korea and the U.S. was expected. He added that simultaneous improvements in South-North and North-U.S. ties would be ideal.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade released a statement hoping for the progressive normalization of relations between the two nations through in-depth discussions of various areas of contention. The Ministry of Unification stated that strongly supported the improvement of North-U.S. ties as it had decided that this would be beneficial to all parties involved.

Since the inter-Korean summit and the June 15th Joint Declaration, many in the government had criticized the relations between the South and the North, saying they were on an excessively fast course without accompanying improvements in North-U.S. ties. The criticism is thought to be the result of opinions that the various international interests in the peninsula would allow only limited improvements if exclusively South and North Korea were involved.

For example, for investment in the North to become more active, the participation of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) is needed. For this to become possible, North Korea must find a way to remove itself from the U.S. list of terrorism-sponsoring nations.

A source in the government explained that the North seemed to have selected the highest member of the North's military next to North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il as it had recognized that without the resolution of the nuclear and missile issues as well as removal of the terrorist nation designation, it would be unable to receive economic backing. Accordingly, the South Korean government expressed hopes that the visit by the Vice Marshall Cho would lead to the simultaneous improvement of South-North and North-U.S. relations.

The South Korean government stressed that there would be few problems with North Korea requesting the transformation of the armistice between the North and the U.S. to a peace treaty. He added that the U.S. has always maintained that the armistice or the peace treaty needs to be between South and the North Korea.