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Pres.-elect Interview Attracts Global Media Attention

Posted February. 05, 2008 22:21,   


President-elect Lee Myung-bak’s recent joint interview with major dailies from Korea, Japan and the United States has attracted global media attention.

The Dong-A Ilbo of Korea, the Asahi Shimbun of Japan and The Wall Street Journal of the United States conducted a joint interview with Lee and released the details Saturday.

The Associated Press focused on Lee’s policies toward North Korea. “I will not implement the agreements between North Korea and my predecessors blindly,” he was quoted as saying. “Before taking any measures, I will consider progress in the North Korean nuclear program, and the economic validity of each project.”

The report said Lee’s comments might discomfort the secluded North, which has asked for a wide range of support including construction of free economic zones and renovation of its poor infrastructure.

The Japanese daily Kyoto Shimbun highlighted Lee’s pledge to build future-oriented relations between Seoul and Tokyo, noting that he said he would welcome the Japanese emperor’s visit to Seoul. AFP of France also pointed to the same comment.

Asahi spread the interview over four pages, quoting Lee as saying, “I am pursuing a more mature relationship with Japan. I am a little hesitant to make specific demands for past history.”

The daily said Lee apparently seeks to restore relations between the two countries at the earliest time possible.

The Wall Street Journal published the interview on page six, saying Lee is worried that the excessive inflow of speculative funds into Korea could hinder his efforts to turn his country investor-friendly.

myzodan@donga.com sya@donga.comv