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Lee and Roh Held Press Conference Regarding North Korean Nuclear Threat

Lee and Roh Held Press Conference Regarding North Korean Nuclear Threat

Posted December. 13, 2002 22:50,   


Lee Hoi-chang of the conservative Grand National Party and Roh Moo-hyun of the pro-government Millennium Democratic Party on 13 held a press conference regarding the resumption of North Korea’s nuclear development programs respectively to urge Pyongyang to withdraw from its decision.

While Lee demanded of immediately stopping the government’s cash aid toward the North, Roh was against the idea.

The GNP candidate said in his press conference at a short notice held in Woolsan, southern city of Korea, “Incoming president’s priority would be to address the North’s nuclear threat. If elected to the presidency, I will meet with Kim Jung-il, leader of the communist country, as soon as possible and persuade the regime to give up its plans to develop nuclear weapons.”

“North Korea’s nuclear weapons programs are posing a great threat to the security of the Korean people and taking Korean people in hostage by developing nuclear weapons must not be tolerated. And Pyongyang should realize the fact that its dangerous brinkmanship tactic threatening with weapons of mass destruction does not work today at a time when the international community is mounting an all-out war against terrorism,” he added.

In addition, he stressed, “The Kim Dae-jung government and the MDP candidate should admit the government’s one-sided aid toward Pyongyang and its incompetent negotiation skills with it caused the current nuclear crisis.” And “The government should stop giving cash aid that might be used for its nuclear development programs to the North and it should actively use our economic assistance as a leverage to persuade the North to renounce its nuclear development programs,” he demanded.

On the same day, the MDP presidential nominee held a forum of publicizing his policies toward Gyeonggi Province at Youngin. In the forum, he said, “North Korea’s decision on reactivating its suspended nuclear facilities is very dangerous and reckless. It should immediately withdraw from its decision.” He made it clear, “If I am elected, I will meet with North Korean leader Kim Jung-il and U.S. President George Bush in order and seek a comprehensive approach to deal with the North Korean nuclear issue.”

The MDP candidate also urged, “The U.S. government should resort to a peaceful means such as dialogue to address the North Korean nuclear issue. And unlike the 1994 North Korean nuclear crisis, the Seoul government should be actively engaged in and do its best to solve the issue.”

However, he said with respect to his rival’s demand of stopping cash aid toward the North, “I would like to correct that the GNP should have used a word “economic exchanges” because the North is now being provided with cash through the scenic Mountain Keumgang tourism business and economic exchanges at the private level.” And also he expressed his opposition to the idea by saying, “If inter-Korean economic exchanges are severed, there will be no proper dialogue channel to the North left, which will lead to a crisis.”

Yeon-Wook Jung Seung-Heon Lee jyw11@donga.com ddr@donga.com