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New US Ambassador to Korea Hubbard Held Press Conference

New US Ambassador to Korea Hubbard Held Press Conference

Posted September. 01, 2001 09:12,   


During a press conference for Korean media correspondents in Washington D.C. on last Thursday, new US ambassador to Korea Thomas Hubbard told his opinion on pending issues including North Korea and economy.

Ambassador Hubbard reconfirmed the opinion of the US government saying, ``We are ready to have a dialogue with North Korea without any precondition.`` and emphasized that the opinion gap between two countries` presidents regarding their policy against North Korea have already been narrowed down. Following content is questions and answers.

-Do you think North Korean leader Kim Jong-Ill will respond to US president George W. Bush`s proposal to resume a dialogue?

``We are ready to enter into talks at anytime, any place, without preconditions. We hope that Kim Jong-Ill responds to resume a dialogue, and I think that will correspond with benefits of two Koreas and America.``

-Former US ambassador to Korea Donald Gregg reportedly said at a recent seminar that US should adopt a softer policy against North Korea, and should not make North Korea as a pretext to propel the missile defense system …

``Former ambassador Gregg is a veteran diplomat who had worked in Korea during a crucial time. We respect his opinion, and I think we should consider his opinion when we establish our policy.``

-You had argued that the Korea government should abolish the national security law of Korea in 1994…

``What I meant was that I hope there would be no more need for the national security law in Korea. It was my personal opinion told at a private lecture. It was misquoted by the press.``

-There was a different opinion on the policy against North Korea between president Bush and president Kim Dae-Jung in the summit held last March. Do you thing the different opinion can be adjusted at the Seoul Korea-US summit in October?

``There had not been a big opinion gap. It was exaggerated by the press. What Bush meant was that we would not have a dialogue with North Korea until the ongoing review on our policy against North Korea is finished. I think the opinion gap between two presidents has been already narrowed.``

-What is your opinion on the automobile issue between Korea and America?

``While Korea exported 0.48 million automobiles to US, US sold just 2,000 vehicles to Korea. I think it is not because the quality of American automobile is bad, but there is something wrong. Although Korean government promised to abolish its custom of tax investigation on foreign car buyers, the government is still charging expensive tax on foreign automobiles. A tax reduction will be a strong sign that shows imported cars are being welcomed.``

Han Ki-Heung eligius@donga.com