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U.S. to Seoul: No Unilateral Action

Posted July. 08, 2006 03:00,   


Washington is likely to send a strong signal to Seoul not to take any unilateral steps.

It is known that Christopher R. Hill, assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, met Chinese high-ranking leaders including Tang Ja Shi An, foreign diplomatic minister in Beijing, and discussed ways to hold so-called five-party talks. America is seeking ways to hold the five party talks excluding North Korea in an attempt to put pressure on the reclusive state. The South Korea authorities, however, have forecast that even though holding the five party talks can serve as an effective means to step up pressure on the North, Beijing and Moscow are unlikely to agree to the five-party talk. What is Seoul’s attitude toward it?

Don’t Give Any Impression of A Unilateral Move by Aiding Assistance to The North.

The message from the Assistant Secretary, Christopher Hill, to the Korean government is likely to be summarized as following;

In a telephone interview with a reporter on July 6, a Bush administration official said “We cannot require the South to deliver fertilizer to the North or not, or to hold an inter-Korean talks or not. However, we will send a signal to Seoul not to take any unilateral steps.”

In particular, the official added that the U.S. will also deliver a message that Korea should suggest a clear cause to other four six-party talks players if it decides to support aid to the communist country, North Korea.

It is known that there is a growing voice in the Bush administration that Christopher Hill must demand Seoul’s active participation in any sanctioning measures on Pyongyang involving the delay of the 19th Inter-Korean Ministerial talks scheduled for July 11.

In addition, a hawkish voice of putting pressure on Seoul to stop investment for temporary in the Gaesong Industrial Complex is gaining ground in the administration. Meanwhile, another official said, “The U.S. should not just sit back and give up the framework of the six-party talks, especially at a time when the North launches missiles. The U.S. is running against time.” Such comments reflect that many raise doubt about America’s diplomatic solutions. It means Christopher Hill’s visit in July to Korea is part of the Bush administration’s efforts to decide the future direction of the six-party talks.

He will not make any conclusions on the next step at least until September.

Don’t Take Any Step Too Early.

Christopher Hill seems to deliver a message to Japan that the U.S. will not accept any unilateral movement. According to a diplomatic source in Washington saying “The message is the kind of precautionary step to persuade Tokyo not to take any strong unilateral measure toward Pyongyang such as additional sanctions on it. One Bush administration official said “The U.S. takes a step toward co-announcement of a message with other five players in the six-party talks that the North’s decision to test-fire missiles will let itself stuck in a trap and the largest loser will be the reclusive country itself.”

Jung-Ahn Kim Myoung-Gun Lee credo@donga.com gun43@donga.com