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North Korean Officials Will Not Attend 60th World War II Anniversary

North Korean Officials Will Not Attend 60th World War II Anniversary

Posted April. 27, 2005 23:19,   


It was reported on April 27 that North Korea will not participate in the 60th anniversary of the victory in the Second World War to be held in Moscow, Russia on May 9.

A diplomatic source in Russia said that “North Korea noted that not only the North Korean leader, Kim Jong Il, but also the chairman of the presidium of the supreme people’s assembly, Kim Yong Nam, wouldn’t join the anniversary celebrations.”

Prior to a luncheon meeting attended by civil commissioners from the committee on the revelation of documents normalizing diplomatic ties between Korea and Japan held at Cheong Wa Dae on that day, Prime Minister Lee Hae-chan also told reporters, “The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade confirmed that nobody from the North would attend the anniversary.”

Prime Minister Lee asked Chairman Kim Yong Nam whether or not he would join the ceremony at the Asia and Africa summit meeting on April 23, but Chairman Kim said, “I am not sure.”

However, North Korea is said to be individually sending a number of old soldiers (partisans) who participated in the war to the anniversary.

Japan’s daily newspaper, Nihon Keizai Shimbun, analyzed that “North Korea examined sending delegations on the prime minister level, but it appears to have decided that faced with increasing pressure from the U.S. and other countries over its nuclear weapons program, it is not desirable to attend an event in which major leaders around the world, including U.S. President George W. Bush, will also be present.

North Korea sought an understanding with Russia about its absence in advance when North Korean leader Kim Jong Il received a medal marking the victory of World War II during his visit to the Russian embassy in Pyongyang last month.

Russia, which also felt the burden of a possible visit by Kim Yong Nam in a vague status for the ceremony, was reported to have said, “We understand North Korea’s position.”


Ki-Hyun Kim kimkihy@donga.com