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President Roh Backs Multilateral Security System

Posted October. 22, 2005 10:29,   


President Roh Moo-hyun said on October 21, “Some argue that we should establish a three-nation security system among Korea, the U.S. and Japan to deal with China. But our position is to create a Northeast Asia peace structure by making a multilateral security system, rather than establishing a three-party security system.”

President Roh made such remarks in a written interview that day with Daily Surprise, an Internet newspaper, adding, “The participatory government intends to resolve a block structure and form a multilateral model based on the structure of economic cooperation.”

The president also said, “If the U.S. manages a Northeast strategy structure on the assumption of a confrontational battle line, Northeast Asia would always be shrouded with tensions,” emphasizing, “On the contrary, if an order of a peaceful and prosperous community, just like the European Union, is established in Northeast Asia, the U.S. will reap greater benefits and Korea would have no option but to choose that.”

Regarding the Korea-U.S. alliance, President Roh pointed out, “We cannot play a coordinating role when we depend on the U.S. Only when we have relative independence can we play an active role in the Northeast Asian order,” adding, “However, many are so afraid of North Korea that they think the influence of the U.S. is too big, and they are too sensitive about what the U.S. thinks of Korea.”

The president also commented on the issue of transfer of wartime command by saying, “Fundamentally, such changes are the process in which Korea searches for the status of an independent country.”

Meanwhile, the president offered his own assessment of his diplomacy, “It sounds like a self-laudation. But I think I exceeded people’s expectations in diplomacy.” He also offered some recollections and episodes of his meetings with other heads of states.

He added, “Initially, I was greatly concerned over the language barriers, and I was extremely nervous when meeting with other heads of states. But what is really important is the core subject of dialogue, and that has little to do with English.” He added, “My smart interpreter speaks in more refined English than what I say in Korean.”

Yeon-Wook Jung jyw11@donga.com