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New York Times Regards South Korea As Largest Supporter of North Korea

New York Times Regards South Korea As Largest Supporter of North Korea

Posted June. 27, 2004 22:11,   


“The two Koreas are approaching the zenith of detente, ignoring the Bush administration’s effort to isolate North Korea.”

The New York Times analyzed the relationship between North and South Korea using these words in its June 26 article titled: “The two Koreas are going a different way from that of the U.S.”

The New York Times insisted that “South Korea is becoming North Korea’s largest supporter in terms of aid for North Korea, trade, and tourism. South Korea has even been a consistent backer of North Korea’s diplomatic relations.” It also reported news, including activation of the Mt. Keumgang tour and the removal of means of propaganda in the DMZ, saying, “The two Koreas are going to enter jointly with the ‘Unification’ flag at the Athens 2004 Olympic Games in August, even though they are formally at war with each other.

According to the New York Times, Korean older generations and conservative politicians express their worries whenever the U.S. announces reduction of its troops on the Korean peninsula, but younger generations accept this with pleasure. This attitude offends or confuses Washington, which is trying to maintain a unified front line with South Korea and Japan in order to suspend North Korea’s nuclear weapons programs.

The New York Times also paid attention to the difference in their understanding of North Korea.

The international community sees North Korea as an autocratic state that operates a series of compulsory labor asylums and that starved one million people instead of receiving foreign aid when it suffered difficulty in obtaining food in the 1990s. However, in Korea, people often think of North Korea in terms such as “we haven’t heard of their evil” and “we haven’t seen a wicked policy from North Korea” since the sunshine policy of the Kim Dae-jung administration.

In particular, The New York Times reported, “Korean government officials try not to hurt North Korea’s feelings and do not mention North Korea’s military threat to South Koreans.” As a result, many Koreans only think that the Unites States and Japan want the partition of the Korean peninsula.

Selig S. Harrison, director of the Asia program at the Center for International Policy said, “We cannot find any fear in Korea. And it is a tremendous change.”

Young-Sik Kim spear@donga.com