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SK Will Persuade NK about WMD

Posted February. 10, 2002 11:58,   


The government decided to persuade the North directly regarding North Korea`s weapons of mass destruction (WMD), recognizing that the reduction of the North`s WMD such as conventional missiles, nuclear weapons, and bio-chemical weapons is a pre-requisite for the resolution of the conflict between North Korea and the U.S..

The government is using non-official channels, judging that the recovery of the usual channel of communication, that is, the Minister-level meeting, is difficult at the moment, considering the stagnated Inter-Korean relationship.

A high-ranking official of the government said that "We will concentrate on resumption of the Inter-Korean dialogue right after the U.S. President`s visit to Korea and are planning to deliver our opinion that the resolution of the North`s WMD is crucial for the security of the Korean Peninsula when the South and North Korean authorities resume their meetings."

He added that "It is true that making an issue of the North`s WMD may not be helpful for the resumption of the Inter-Korean dialogue in such a stagnant situation, but the government must take a step forward on the WMD issue since the improvement of the Inter-Korean relationship cannot be accomplished without the improvement of the North-U.S. relationship."

Such a decision by the government changed from its previous position by acknowledging the WMD problem as an issue not just between the North and the U.S., but one involving South Korea and, therefore, a part of the agenda in the Inter-Korean dialogue.

The government is reportedly discussing with the U.S. the issue of compensation and supplying electricity to the North when the North cooperates in the resolution of the WMD issue.

The U.S. expressed its negative response concerning the electricity supply to the North, but the possibility of the electricity supply remains high since the U.S. think-tank of the Bush administration, such as the Council On Foreign Relations, supported the necessity of supplying electricity to the North.

The government is also trying to hold the 2nd Economic Cooperation Organizing Committee, in which the issues of the re-union of separated families and providing 300,000 tons of rice to the North will be discussed, in order to persuade the people about the necessity of the Inter-Korean dialogue and to invite the North to the negotiation table.

Foreign Minister Choi Sung-Hong made a phone call to Japan`s Foreign Minister Kawaguchi Yoriko and said, "Wven though Inter-Korean relationship is still in a stagnant state, we are trying to resume the Inter-Korean dialogue."

Jong-Hoon Lee taylor55@donga.com · Young-Sik Kim spear@donga.com