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Energy Support for N.K Will Get Clearer?

Posted August. 25, 2003 21:40,   


MDP`s Kim Sung-ho also quoted North Korea`s Vice President of the Chosun Asia-Pacific Peace Committee as saying that North Korea would accept a thermal electricity-powered plant instead of light water reactor plants.

Before that, New York Times supported this observation by quoting a U.S. administration official`s remark; “Unless North Korea gives up on its nuclear program, the U.S. would not give any economic incentives to the country. But, we would not care about other nations’ economic support for the state.”

Japan`s move towards North Korean support

The Japanese government is moving fast to provide its economic support toward North Korea after being included in the six-way talk with North Korea.

Japan`s new attitude about the economic support toward North Korea where the Japanese government suggested its willingness to keep supplying heavy oil to North Korea instead of the U.S., in case the light water reactor project by KEDO is discontinued comes as a 180 degree turnabout from its previous position.

Japan used to be on the U.S. side over the issue of whether the U.S. should continue to support the light-water reactor project this June and seemed to be inclined toward “Pressure” rather than “Dialogue” with regard to its attitude toward North Korea.

But, as the Koizumi`s administration realized that it should not push North Korea any more to smoothly resolve its current issue of North Korean abduction incidence, it started to go for an opposite direction than before.

Japan will have a separate meeting with North Korea on August 28th during the six-way talk schedule for its ad hoc issue.

However, most people argue that it would be too much to interpret Japan`s turnabout as its own decision-making process considering that Japan has been eagerly following the U.S. hard-line position against North Korea.

Japanese Premier Koizumi had once troubled himself in correcting the U.S. misunderstanding about his individual behavior reported during its visit to North Korea last year.

Role distribution between Korea, Japan and the U.S.

This is why observations are made that three major nations might have discussed about their role-playing for the upcoming six-way meeting at a high working-level meeting held in Washington early this month.

This implies that South Korea and Japan might have decided to provide detailed and short-term suggestions to North Korea as a resolution for its energy deficiency while the U.S. was determined to keep its principle “No reward for no nuclear program”. This agreement reflects how urgent it was to freeze North Korea`s nuclear program on the part of the U.S.

The Assistance Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade Lee Soo-hyuk said, “We expect that North Korea would not feel disappointed by our suggestions.” Also some presses had interpreted the remarks about the freeze on the nuclear program and the revival of Geneva Agreement by the Foreign Affair and Trade Minister Yoon Young-kwan as emphasizing the necessity of resuming heavy oil supplies to North Korea.