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North Korea Sends Unprecedented Consolation Letter to U.S.

North Korea Sends Unprecedented Consolation Letter to U.S.

Posted September. 05, 2005 07:06,   


The North Korean Red Cross sent a letter consoling the United States struck by Hurricane Katrina to the American Red Cross on September 3.

The North`s state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported on that day that the letter sent by the North Korean Red Cross said, “We hope that people in the affected area can recover from the damage as soon as possible and return to their safe lives.” However, the KCNA didn`t reveal the letter`s entire contents

U.S. Congressman Tom Lantos (D.-Calif.) who visited the North recently also said on the same day, “The former North Korean ambassador to the U.N. expressed a message of deep sympathy for the damage inflicted on the U.S. and asked me to deliver that message to the U.S. government.”

This is the very unusual for the North to console the U.S. after suffering a disaster. Even when the 9/11 terror attacks took place in 2001 in the U.S., the North didn’t make its position clear.

The Korean government official analyzed that the North may have done so to soften the six party talks’ atmosphere, keeping in mind normalizing its diplomatic relations with the U.S.

Some people said that the North has taken a diplomatic strategy by expressing its interest in an afflicted country by calamity in order to reverse its negative image from the outside world.

When French citizens died in a Columbian airplane crash last month, North Korean Foreign Minister Paek Nam Sun sent a consolation letter to his French counterpart. And North Korea’s Prime Minister Park Bong Ju also sent a consolation letter to British Prime Minister Tony Blair right after the London bombings last July.

Meanwhile, a spokesman of North Korea’s Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland harshly criticized the South Korean government, directly mentioning Cheong Wa Dae regarding the Korea-U.S. joint exercise Ulji Focus Lens that ended on September 2.

The spokesman for North Korea’s Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland condemned the exercise on September 3, saying, “As soon as the Ulji exercise began, Cheong Wa Dae held a cabinet meeting, examined the exercise plan and tried to provoke a wartime preparation response. This is defiance against what the two Koreas aim to do and is provocation going against the general trend.

Regarding this, some people in government predict that the South-North ministerial talks, which will be held in Pyongyang from September 13 to 16, might fail.

Myoung-Gun Lee gun43@donga.com