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Amounting Confusion over Government`s Optimism about North Korea-U.S. Relationship

Amounting Confusion over Government`s Optimism about North Korea-U.S. Relationship

Posted February. 07, 2002 09:36,   


Even after George W. Bush labeled the North as part of the `axis of evil`, stirring the North-U.S. relationship, the Korean government has repeated the groundless optimistic comment that "The U.S. will express its support for the Sunshine policy and the North-U.S. dialogue in the Korea-U.S. summit."

With regard to the government`s responses, political circles are lost in the political infighting, ignoring non-partisan discussions about this issue and aggravating the political confusion in the country.

Controversies Between the Ruling Party and the Opposition: Responding to the remarks of Lim Sung-Joon, senior secretary to the President for foreign affairs and security, that "there is no problem with the Korea-U.S. cooperation." Nam Kyung-Pil, the spokesperson of the Grand National Party, criticized that "the statement is evidence of the easy responses that diplomatic authorities give. Is the rosy prospect of the high ranking officials of the government realistic?"

Mr. Nam anticipated that "The two countries may be not exposing their disagreements at the summit but the conflicts between the two nations will not be hidden."

In response, Lee Nak-Yeon, the spokesperson of the New Millennium Democratic Party, denounced that "GNP is unreasonably trying to shake the new diplomatic and security team without grounds. Is this what the GNP means by the non-partisan cooperation which Lee Hoi-Chang promised in his speech in the National Assembly?"

Government Response: The government held a National Security Council (NSC) standing committee meeting presided by Unification Minister Chung Se-Hyun to discuss the measures to revitalize the Inter-Korean relationship and the North-U.S. relationship, taking advantage of the Korea-U.S. summit on the 20th.

Foreign Minister Choi Sung-Hong mentioned yesterday that "It is very certain that the dialogue is the only and the best way to achieve stability in the Korean Peninsula."

Yang Sung-Chul, Korean Ambassador to the U.S. hinted that the two countries are sharing enough information about North Korean missiles, saying that "The two countries are closely cooperating with one another." in response to the question whether the Korean government gathered concrete evidence about North Korean missiles from the U.S. government.

Protesting Visit to the U.S. Embassy: Reps. Kim Sung-Ho, Song Young-Gil, Hur Woon-Na from NMDP and Reps. Kim Won-Woong, Ahn Young-Geun visited the U.S. embassy and delivered their note of protest against Bush`s hardline remarks on the North to the U.S. deputy ambassador to Korea, Evans Revere.

Mr. Revere said, "It is regretful that NMDP criticized President Bush." but the Korean policymakers clarified that "We are directly delivering the voice of the Korean citizens who are worrying about the unilateral North Korean policies of the U.S."

The lawmakers decided to adopt a resolution to urge for the immediate resumption of the North-U.S. dialogue and will submit it to the Standing Committee of Unification, Foreign Affairs, and Trade and the general meeting of the National Assembly on the 7th.

Meanwhile, the policymakers of the NMDP criticized the lack of countermeasures by the government, saying "The government`s diplomatic response needs to be improved." at the coordination meeting of the government and the ruling party at the National Assembly.

Jong-Hoon Lee taylor55@donga.com