Go to contents

Bush voices skepticism, cites need to verify N. Korea`s intentions

Bush voices skepticism, cites need to verify N. Korea`s intentions

Posted March. 09, 2001 11:39,   


President Kim Dae-Jung and U.S. President George Bush agreed on the need for bilateral cooperation in dealing with North Korea during their summit at the White House Thursday but showed opposing views on Pyongyang`s communist leadership.

During the meeting in Washington, Bush voiced suspicions of the North Korean leader and called for greater transparency and verification with regard to international agreements Pyongyang has agreed to uphold. In a bid to bridge the gap between Seoul and Washington on their respective North Korea policies, the Seoul government plans to assemble deputy-minister level officials from South Korea. The United States and Japan for policy consultation talks as early as late this month.

South Korea hopes President Bush and Secretary of State Colin Powell would come to Seoul following the likely visit of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il in the first half of the year. Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Ban Ki-Moon said Bush accepted President Kim`s invitation to visit Korea and said he might make a trip to Northeast Asia prior to the scheduled October summit of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Shanghai.

Meanwhile, President Kim told a meeting of independent experts on Korea at the Madison Hotel in Washington Thursday morning that President Bush spoke highly of the ongoing progress in inter-Korean relations and supported Seoul`s policy of rapprochement with North Korea. ``The two countries are basically of one mind, even though there may be some disagreement on the pace of promoting relations with North Korea,`` he said.

Kim said he told Bush of the desirability of comprehensive reciprocity, under which the South would provide economic assistance to North Korea and maintain security in return for its promise to resolve the missile question and renounce its longstanding aim to communize the South by force. President Bush showed some skepticism about the intentions of the North Korean regime, Kim said, and called for visible proof of its peaceful aims and verification that it was abiding by the terms agreements it had signed. Kim said he supported the need for verification.

Prior to the press conference, the two leaders issued a five-point joint statement reaffirming the importance of the South Korea-U.S. security alliance and pledging efforts to deepen their partnership.

Boo Hyung-Kwon bookum90@donga.com