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President pushes Brunei for Hyundai payment

Posted November. 19, 2000 19:33,   


President Kim Dae-Jung asked Hassanal Bolkiah, sultan of Brunei, three times to pay the US$90 million in outstanding construction fees to Hyundai Engineering and Construction Co. last Monday when he visited the country.

Government officials said President Kim asked Sultan Bolkiah to keep the payment of Hyundai¡¯s uncollected fees in mind, noting that the leading Korean company is in financial trouble.

The President told the Sultan that if Brunei paid the fees, Hyundai would never be able to thank the country enough. During a summit meeting, the President also apologized to the Sultan for emphasizing the payment while visiting the country as a state guest and asked him to consider the matter, the officials said.

A senior diplomat said that it was unusual in view of diplomatic practices for the head of state to refer to the financial matters of a private company during a summit meeting. He added that it was surprising that the President mentioned the Hyundai issue as many as three times, as if he were begging.