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Let Different Things BE Different, Says Roh

Posted February. 13, 2003 22:52,   


"South Korea and the United States should harmonize their positions to deter an outbreak of war on the peninsula, but different things should differ from each other," said President-elect Roh Moo-hyun regarding the harmony between the two countries in copying with North Korea`s nuclear standoff.

In a speech given at the headquarters of the Federation of Korean Trade Unions, Roh said, "The press stresses that [my opinion on the standoff is] different from that of the United States. Then, what is the real intention behind it? Reporters want a war? When a war really breaks out, South Korean president is not able to command the army."

Then, he pointed out, "Considering the possibility America might attack North, I just said no."

He emphasized the necessity of continuing support for North Korea and said, "[Aids to North is] not doling out. Even if we had to dole out more, we have to invest more. It`s for living, and for building up the hope and the future. Without resolution of the standoff, we could not survive an era of a new Northeast Asia."

Roh added, "It`s hard to maintain our own will with the United States directing this and that. Our economy may be damaged. But we should not water down our strong will. It`s better being difficult than dying [in war]."

Rep. Chung Seh-gyun, who was on hand at the speech, held a briefing session after the speech and explained, "What Mr. Roh indicated was the importance of maintaining good relationships between South Korea and the United States, and the need to resolve everything in close consultation. But, he just acknowledged the differences that exist between them, and the possibility that they may exist in the future. Collapse of the North Korean regime should be taken seriously. In that context, Mr. Roh would not agree to America`s attack on North."

Roh gave the speech upon hearing a senior union member`s request for resolution of North Korea standoff, which has caused fear and anxiety among citizens.

Jeong-Hun Kim jnghn@donga.com