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Persson’s Visit to North Korea: Stories Behind

Posted May. 06, 2001 10:30,   


A EU delegation member said that because North Korean leader Kim Jong-il is deeply concerned about the U.S. administration`s hard-line stance on his country Kim has not been able to decide on the South-North relations as well as open and reform policy.

The following is the story behind reported by the EU delegation members and the government officials.

- North Korea’s concern about the U.S.

Kim Jong-il told Swedish Prime Minister Goran Persson regarding his visit to Seoul that ‘It should be well prepared. However, the visit is difficult now because of the great influence of the U.S. on South Korea and will be reconsidered after the U.S. completes the examination of its stance on North Korea.’ Chairman Kim added, ‘Although I treasure the ‘personal friendship’ with President Kim Dae-jung, President Kim seems to be influenced by the U.S. too much’.

He also said, ‘The current process of reconciliation of South-North Korea will eventually reach to the unification. However, the biggest problem is U.S.’ intervention’. Chairman Kim also complained about the U.S. administration’s recent decision not to remove the North Korea from the list of terrorism-sponsoring states.

Swedish Prime Minister Perrson responded by saying that ‘You sound as if the second inter-Korean summit talk will depend on the U.S. Since North Korea has always valued autonomy, it is necessary to initiate a proactive stance on what it believes to be important’. Chairman Kim just nodded without commenting on the plan of the dialogue between North Korea and EU about human rights issues.

-Chairman Kim’s lack of experience in economy

Prime Minister Persson told President Kim Dae-jung that ‘Chairman Kim has a good grasp of the issues. He was also well-briefed on all matters. He is very open and business-oriented person’. President Kim agreed with him. However, Persson said, ‘Kim doesn’t seem to have concrete plans for the economic reform issues.’ It was reported that Chairman Kim admitted his lack of experience in economy and asked for advice. Therefore, Persson and Kim spent much time discussing ‘investment guarantee, economic education for the general public, and research & development, etc.’. They also talked about how to manage the public budget and how to deal with the market economy structure.

Yun Seung-Mo ysmo@donga.com