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Kim Jong-Il May Visit Seoul After Bush

Posted July. 12, 2001 20:21,   


The government moves forward with a plan of the North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il`s return visit for this year after the scheduled visit of U.S. President George W. Bush in October.

A high official of the government said that ``before the return visit of Kim Jong-Il, the North Korea’s National Defense Commission Chairman, it is necessary to strengthen the traditional Korea-U.S. amity and cooperation by the U.S. President Bush`s visit to Seoul. It would be perfect when North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il visits Seoul after then.``

The government`s decision seems to be affected by the realistic judgment about the deterred North-U.S. relationship and the domestic political controversies between the ruling and opposing parties on the tax probe.

The government is planning to persuade the North at the Minister level meetings that the return visit of Kim Jong-Il is essential for the North to acquire of the international credibility.

A high official of the ruling party remarked that ``the return visit of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il is a crucial factor for the institutionalization of the Inter Korean peaceful co-existence system. However, the South political situation is not ready for his return visit. Hopefully, the situation will change by the end of this year.``

Another government official said, ``the return visit of Kim Jong-Il after October would have no difficulty because the major political events of the North, such as the celebrations of the government foundation anniversary (Sep. 9th) and the party foundation anniversary (Oct. 10th). Furthermore, the return visit would be timely because North Korea will be able to set up a master plan responding to the Korea-U.S.`s North Korean policies after the review of the Bush`s trip to Seoul. Mr. Bush will visit Korea on his way to the APEC in China, October.

Yun Seung-Mo ysmo@donga.com