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North’s Nuclear Issue Is “Vital Issue,” Needs to Be Solved Prior to Anything Else

North’s Nuclear Issue Is “Vital Issue,” Needs to Be Solved Prior to Anything Else

Posted November. 21, 2004 23:31,   


President Roh Moo-hyun and U.S. President George W. Bush held a summit meeting on Saturday morning (local time) in Hyatt Hotel in Santiago, Chile, re-confirming the principle of peacefully solving the North Korean nuclear problem within the six-party talks framework.

The summits agreed to give priority in solving the North’s nuclear problem, regarding it as a joint crucial assignment of both nations, insinuating a full-scale discussion among the related nations to immediately hold the six-party talks, which is currently in a standoff situation.

At the meeting, President Bush said, “There are other important issues, but we will consider the Korean peninsula issue as the ‘vital issue’ and cooperate closely to solve it. I emphasize again that we are trying to solve the North’s nuclear issue as far as through diplomatic and peaceful efforts.”

The Foreign Affairs and Trade Minister Ban Ki-moon who attended the meeting explained that, “It showed that U.S. does not have an antagonistic policy toward North Korea and does not have intentions to invade North Korea.”

At the meeting, there was no direct comment about President Roh’s speech in Los Angeles on the 12th. However, President Bush indicated that “We completely understand President Roh’s and the Korean government’s sensitivity toward the North’s nuclear problem, but they have the wrongful perspective of looking into the U.S. policy toward the nuclear issue in an oversimplified way.”

Related to this matter, the government plans to have a working-level contact with U.S. and Japan to discuss the early opening of six-party talks and its practical developmental plan. Also, the government has decided to thoroughly examine and prepare a compromising proposal with U.S. to solve the North’s nuclear issue.

Meanwhile, a U.S. high-ranking authority stated that there is a possibility of the next six-party talks taking place within this year. Also, it is said that he was optimistic toward the six-party talks outlook as he explained the recent agreement made between Chinese President Hu Jintao and President Bush during their summit meeting.

After finishing with all the scheduled Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit meetings, on Sunday afternoon, President Roh left the Santiago airport for Honolulu, U.S., his mid-stop-off point.

Jung-Hun Kim Dong-Won Kim jnghn@donga.com daviskim@donga.com