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Expecting Normalization of Relations When Japanese Prime Minister Visits N.K.

Expecting Normalization of Relations When Japanese Prime Minister Visits N.K.

Posted September. 15, 2002 23:03,   


Kim Jong-il, chairman of North Korea’s national defense commission, showed his expectation for the normalization of the diplomatic ties between Japan and North Korea, when he said Sept. 14, “The visit by Junichiro Koizmi to Pyongyang will set a mild stone in the normalization of relations efforts.

In an interview with the Kyodo news agency, he said that and also added, “If the relations are normalized, there is no reason I cannot make a return visit to Tokyo.”

On the same day, Japanese news media dealt with the issue in the headlines and expected that in the upcoming summit, there will be a lot of progress in pending issues, like kidnapping Japanese people and putting behind the past related to the Japanese ruling of the Korea Peninsula.

However, Chairman Kim stressed that the issue of putting behind the past was a prerequisite for the normalization and in order to solve the issue first, Japan should make a sincere apology for its wrongdoing and compensate North Koreans properly for that.

“Considering that Pyongyang had no response to Tokyo’s demand in the past, this is a big change,” said Shinzo Abe, Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary of Japan.

Below is the letter written to the president of the Kyodo news agency by North Korean leader Kim Jong-il in response to its interview questions.

These days the world’s eyes are on North Korea and the upcoming summit between Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and me.

During the past century, the two countries have maintained abnormal relationship of conflict and feud. Even five decades after the end of the war, we continue the abnormal relationship, and it has nothing good to the two countries.

Now, this is the time to develop the relations into amicable ones through the normalization of the diplomatic ties. And it is also in accordance with two peoples’ longing and in the interest of them. The normalization of the relationship is a mission that was given to politicians of the two nations. If the responsible politicians work together with a long-term sight, they can work out any problems.

Before long Prime minister Koizumi will make a visit to Pyongyang and his visit will mark an epoch in the normalization of diplomatic ties. I firmly believe that our meeting will bear fruit.

A prerequisite for the normalization is that North Korea and Japan should put behind their past. To do that, Tokyo should fully consider North Korean people’s suffering, apologize North Korean people and solve the issue of compensation in a right way. In the past, the two countries were locked up in the abnormal relationship, because this basic issue was not solved first. It has also resulted in other problems.

Though the two nations are defaming each other on slight issues, these will be worked out with the relations improving. If the normalization of the relations is achieved, there is no problem involving national security. Though Japanese are worrying about the military build-up in North Korea, this is only for self-defense. Our armed forces do not hesitate in their action to those who impinge upon us, but we do not use our military force to those who do not. If Japan is friendly to us, they don’t need to worry about our military forces. Last but not least, In regard to the question of whether I have an intention to make a return visit to Japan, I think that there is no reason I cannot visit Japan if the two nations’ relations develop through the normalization. In this opportunity, I would like to say that I hope the Japanese peace and prosperity.

Young-Ee Lee yes202@donga.com