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U.S. may quit missile talks with N. Korea

Posted January. 08, 2001 19:53,   


The Republican administration of President-elect George W. Bush may break up the ongoing process of negotiating with North Korea in its enthusiasm for a military buildup, specifically a national missile defense (NMD) system, said International Herald Tribune executive editor David Ignatius on Sunday.

In a column titled "A Challenge Facing Korea" and published in the Sunday edition of The Washington Post, Ignatius expressed fears that a miscalculation by the incoming Bush administration might undermine inter-Korean rapprochement. He gave the projection after he interviewed President Kim Dae-Jung here last week.

Openly wondering whether security on the Korean peninsula could be ensured by a "soft" approach based on dialogue rather than a hard-line policy of beefing up arms, Ignatius championed the middle ground of properly applying the carrot and stick. Ignatius also raised the possibility that Bush might overturn the existing approach to North Korea.

The Bush administration looks upon Pyongyang as a rogue state that necessitates the building of an NMD system, he said, the aggressive pursuit of which could drive North Korean strongman Kim Jong-Il back into isolation. Ignatius said this prospect might drive the North Korean regime to use its military power based on the view that its army was its only leverage.