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Seoul, Japan Contingency Bill a Breach of Diplomatic Etiquette

Seoul, Japan Contingency Bill a Breach of Diplomatic Etiquette

Posted June. 08, 2003 21:39,   


President Roh Moo-hyun on his state visit to Japan said on Sunday that with regard to the absurd remarks made by a Japanese politician about Koreans` having been forced to take Japanese names during Japan’s colonial rule, he did not feel a need for the Korean government`s diplomatic response. He continued that if "the reckless remarks were by the Japanese government, we need to respond diplomatically but that it is not good for the government to respond to all such remarks by a Japanese politician, or for a Japanese person for that matter."

At a breakfast meeting with correspondents of Korea media outlets to Japan at the State Guest House in Tokyo, Mr. Roh suggested that he had no intentions to respond to the remarks at the government level.

With respect to the passage of three contingency bills by Japan`s Parliament on day one of his state visit to Japan, he said that "there were no specific grounds supporting a breach of diplomatic etiquette, though the bill is not that desirable." He continued, "it is more important for Japan to make efforts against any possible problems relative to South Korea after the enactment of the laws."

Meeting with the Japanese Emperor, Roh did not talk about Japan`s colonial rule of Korea. About the reason for that, he explained that there were a lot of things [for the two nations] to do to establish forward-looking relations.

The following are questions and answers at his meeting with correspondents.

-There was a report that in dealing with North Korea`s nuclear weapons, differences were shown between South Korea and Japan’s opinions.

"During the summit and at the joint press conference, it was confirmed that there is no or little difference between Korea and Japan. Because in the conference, Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi seemed to put emphasis on sanctions against North Korea, I stressed the importance of dialogue."

-Do you see the possibility that North Korea’s nuclear issues can be settled in multilateral talks?

"A multilateral framework is necessary because talk over economic aid and security guarantees should be made to persuade Pyongyang to give up its nuclear weapons. We would not share the economic burden being left out of talks like in the past. Within a multilateral framework, the issue is expected to be resolved."

-What do you think about inspections on the Mankyungbong, a North Korean passenger ship shuttling between North Korea and Japan?

"The measure to tighten inspections is proper if the ship was found to have been carrying drugs. I conveyed to the Japanese government my position that a complicated investigation could be regarded as a tough measure related to North Korea’s nuclear weapons and the kidnapping of Japanese citizens.

How is Japan`s State Guest House?

"The State Guest House is a symbol of the nation’s power and status. When South Korea moves its administrative capital, I hope that a modern state guest-house, though not as refined, can be built. The relocation of the capital will take approximately 10 years.

Hun-Joo Cho hanscho@donga.com