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Kim Jong-Il¡¯s Seoul visit should be occasion to end cold war

Kim Jong-Il¡¯s Seoul visit should be occasion to end cold war

Posted February. 17, 2001 19:26,   


President Kim Dae-Jung said Friday that North Korea-related issues would make up a "sufficient" part of his summit with U.S. President George W. Bush and that the planned Seoul visit by North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il should serve as an occasion to end to the decades-old standoff on the Korean peninsula.

In a briefing by Foreign Affairs-Trade Minister Lee Joung-Binn on the ministry¡¯s diplomatic goals for the year, Kim stressed that both South and North Korea should use the visit as the momentum for establishing peace, promoting inter-Korean exchanges and cooperation and bringing an end to cold-war tensions.

Toward this end, North Korea and the United States should reach an agreement on improving the security situation here, including a resolution on the North¡¯s missile development plans, the president said.

In his report, Minister Lee said the ministry would seek ways of concluding investment treaties with the U.S. and Japan and a free trade pact with Chile within the year. Negotiations have been sluggish due to enduring differences of opinion, he added.

Timed with the Korea-U.S. summit slated for March 7, the minister said the ministry plans to launch "omni directional diplomacy" in order to build the foundation for peace on the Korean peninsula.

Lee said negotiations on the signing of a Korea-U.S. investment treaty have made significant progress, but that one of the remaining sticking points has to do with Seoul`s "screen quota" system. The local film industry is opposed to the idea of reducing the number of days per year that Korean films must be shown at local theaters.

Ministry sources said most analysts are focusing on whether the two leaders can produce an agreement on all pending issues.

Lee said the ministry would concentrate on establishing reciprocal trade relations with the new U.S. administration and address perceived trade barriers like anti-dumping duties against Korean goods.

Toward this end, the ministry plans to activate a task force on import restrictions facing Korean goods and expands its support for local exporters, Lee said.

Yun Seung-Mo ysmo@donga.com