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Putin Advised Kim Jong-il to Open Up

Posted August. 23, 2002 22:05,   


DPRK leader Kim Jong-il`s visit to Russian Far East, which was wrapped up with Russia-North summit meeting, focused mainly on economic cooperation issues.

The North`s foreign policy was another issue concerned. It was reported that the North Korean leader who had actively pursuing resuming the dialogue not only with South Korea but also with Japan and the U.S asked for support and consultation to senior officials in Russia.

Sources said, "Russian president Vladimir Putin explained to the NK leader the reason why Russia had been continuing pro-Western policies despite the US hard-line policies manifested in its president`s reference to `axis of evil`. He also recommended for NK leader to be more active in the open-door policy.

However, underlying such open-door policy discussions was North Korea`s need to rebuild its economy. This was clearly seen when he placed priority on economic pending issues rather than security or military issues during his visit unlike last year`s visit.

Although Kim was accompanied with other military senior officials such as Kim Young-jun, the chief of General staff of People`s Arm. few plans related to military cooperation were on his itinerary.

Without Kim`s visit to the Far East military district as a protocol, he went only to the KNAAPO where Komsomolsk aircraft are produced as his military related plans.

While calling off military-related plans including the visit to the Headquarter of pacific squadron and embarkation of missile cruise, Kim sticked to his schedules concerning economic cooperation including planed visits to harbor facilities, shopping centers, factories producing bread, medicine, and cable.

Mr. Kim also mainly discussed economic issues in a meeting with Far East local leaders. Seaside vernor Sergei Darkin said, "Chairman Kim showed his particular interests in overseas economic issues." His interest is also supported by his entourage mainly made up of economy related officials.

In relation with economic cooperation, the biggest issue was the project to link TKR and TSR. In particular, Russia is reported to have shown an aggressive attitude toward the project as President Putin put the issue on top of the agenda in the summit.

During Far East Economic Development Meeting held right before the summit, Mr. Putin encouraged them to push ahead with the railroad project. He said, "If the railroad project failed and the KSR was linked to a Chinese railroad, Russia would suffer from billions of dollars annually because it will cut the logistics flow between Russia and Europe.

Ki-Hyun Kim kimkihy@donga.com