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“N.K. is a Negotiation Partner, not a Criminal.”

Posted February. 24, 2003 22:36,   


President Roh Moohyun said in an interview with Newsweek, a U.S. weekly news magazine, “North Korea is already changing and we should not treat them as criminals but as partners in negotiations”.

In his interview published in the latest Newsweek (March 3), he said “If we give them what they desperately want—regime security, normal treatment and economic assistance—they will be willing to give up their nuclear ambitions.”

This opinion of President Roh is contrary to the stand of the U.S. President George W. Bush, who has not treated North Korea as a partner in negotiations and insisted on “abandonment of nuclear ambition first, then assistance.”

Regarding the reduction of the number of American combat troops in Korea, he said, “Like most of the Korean people, I want U.S. forces to remain on the peninsula. However, many people think that Korean requests regarding the reduction in the size and alignment of the U.S. force will not be fully accommodated.”

When he asked if he feared an anti-Korean backlash in the U.S., he said, “When we think we have been unfairly treated, we may complain or object. But this is different from anti-American sentiment.”

He also said, “Major U.S. media and government officials are mentioning the possibility of attacking North Korea. It is a life-or-death issue. That is why I am asking the United States to refrain from taking too much risk,” and pointed out “the new order the U.S. is demanding is, in the main, just. But it also has unilateralist characteristics.”

Kwan-Hee Hong konihong@donga.com