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Roh Is Likely to Visit U.S. as Early as March

Posted January. 14, 2003 22:37,   


The President-elect, Roh Moo-hyun, is expected to visit the United States early March.

Appearing on a KBS radio program on Dec.14, Jeong Dae-chul, the President-elect’s special envoy to Washington said that at a meeting with Mr. Roh on Dec. 13, the US envoy, James Kelly, invited him to pay a visit to the US in March. Mr. Jeong added that during his visit to Washington, there would be discussions on the details of Roh’s visit, such as the schedule and agenda items.

At his own meeting with James Kelly, US assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs, Mr. Jeong said, they raised the issue of what Roh is considering – at the same time the South persuades the North into giving up its nuclear ambitions and the US guarantees the security of the impoverished dictatorship.

At a breakfast meeting with the members of the National Assembly’s committee for unification, diplomacy and trade affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Seoul on Jan. 14, the US assistant secretary of state said that "the guarantee of the North’ regime is possible, but there is no certain reward from the North" for it and "specific measures about assuring the safety of it have not been decided yet," according to Rep. Lee Chang-bok of the Millennium Democratic Party (MDP).

Asked whether the U.S. is willing to consider talks with Pyongyang through the UN Security Council, rather than a direct dialogue between the two countries, Kelly responded, "The issue of North Korea’s withdrawal from the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) will be passed on to the Security Council, but just putting all the matter in the hands of the Council is not U.S. policy. We will work in consultation with Seoul on the North Korea nuclear issue."

When a lawmaker asked him whether the next target is the North, after the end of the war in Iraq, he said, "Iraq and North Korea are different. The U.S.’ current policy toward Pyongyang would not change after the war with Iraq."

Meanwhile, the U.S. embassy in Seoul denied that Kelly made a comment on the guarantee of the security of the North Korean regime.

On the same day, after meeting with presidential security advisor Lim Dong-won, senior secretary for diplomacy and security affairs Lim Sung-jun, and Lee Tae-sik, deputy secretary of foreign affairs and trade, Kelly left Seoul for China, his next destination.

Jong-Koo Yoon jkmas@donga.com