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Seoul supports North Korea's reform promotion policy

Posted January. 27, 2001 19:03,   


Han Duck-Soo, director of the Foreign Affairs-Trade Ministry's trade promotion headquarters, said Friday that Seoul would push ahead with a policy to encourage North Korea to promote reform and advance into the international community, noting that it was an encouraging sign that North Korean Defense Commission Chairman Kim Jong-Il showed a special interest in China's moves toward a market economy during his recent visit to Shanghai.

Han made the remarks in a briefing session at the Post Hotel in Davos, Switzerland on the political and economic outlook for the Korean peninsula. He is in the Swiss city to attend the 31st World Economic Forum (WEF).

In a panel discussion, Goldman Sachs' Asian vice president Kenneth Curtis said the Korean peninsula is the only place where the influences of the four major powers are in conflict and that an improvement in relations with North Korea would help strengthen the South Korean economy. Predicting that Pyongyang would inevitably pursue an open-door policy due to its chronic food and power shortages, he also said that aid to the North would have to continue, even though the pace of Pyongyang's move toward openness is somewhat slow.

Michael Chinoy, CNN's Hong Kong bureau chief, who has visited Pyongyang several times, stressed that with Kim Jong-Il's recent Shanghai visit as the momentum, the official North Korean media outlets began to show some changes in their coverage. He pointed out that they had begun reporting on venture businesses in their country but have yet to make any changes in their reports on military and security affairs, such as Pyongyang's missile development programs.

Kim Se-Won claire@donga.com