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Kim Dae-Jung Says “North Korea and the U.S. Should Have Direct Talks”

Kim Dae-Jung Says “North Korea and the U.S. Should Have Direct Talks”

Posted November. 20, 2003 22:50,   


Former President Kim Dae-jung urged a direct meeting between North Korea and the U.S. on November 20 by asserting, “North Korea should completely give up its nuclear weapons, and the United States should guarantee North Korea’s security and its entrance into the world community. The six nation talks are useful, but the important thing is an agreement between North Korea and the United States.”

For the first time since his retirement from the Blue House, former President Kim has spoken publicly regarding issues surrounding North Korea and proposed a solution through his message at the opening ceremony of an international symposium entitled “A New Century of Northeast Asia,” held at Tokyo National University. “Six nation talks are going on, and both the U.S. and North Korea appear to be changing their attitudes, but the prospects are not certain. Countries participating in the six nation talks should actively contribute to guaranteeing the success of the talks and ensuring their results, with fair and sincere attitudes.”

Subsequently, he criticized the current Bush administration’s hard line policy towards North Korea.

“The Clinton administration resolved its hostile relations with North Korea and made an agreement to establish diplomatic relations with North Korea. However, the Bush administration has taken a different position than the previous administration,” former President Kim pointed out.

“During my term of office in February 2002, I emphasized to President Bush during his visit here the need for talks with North Korea in order to resolve tensions between North and South Korea. President Bush sympathized with me and promised that he would not attack North Korea, and that he would talk with North Korea and support it with food aid,” added former President Kim. “The realization of all dreams in Northeast Asia starts with peace on the Korean peninsula. Peace on the Korean peninsula and increased interchanges between North and South Korea will bring about security and prosperity for 70 million people in both North and South Korea, as well as security and economic benefits for Japan and China,” he said during the eighteen minute message, which was filmed in the office of his private residence. Former President Kim was also supposed to participate in the symposium, which was co-hosted by the Japan Center for Area Studies, the National Museum of Ethnology, and the Institute of Social Information at the National University of Tokyo, but was unable to participate due to health problems.

Hun-Joo Cho hanscho@donga.com