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Obama Presents New Vision for N. Korea

Posted November. 16, 2009 08:32,   


U.S. President Barack Obama has presented his vision of North Korea’s future after denuclearization of the communist country.

In Japan, the first leg of his first Asian visit, Obama said he is ready to provide North Korea with a different future in line with U.S. partners, while outlining his new policy toward Asia. With such comments, he elaborated on the aim of the “grand bargain” plan suggested by South Korean President Lee Myung-bak as a comprehensive approach to resolve North Korea’s nuclear issue, experts said.

Obama has laid out several visions of a different future for North Korea, including integration with the international community rather than isolation; economic opportunities for North Koreans for a better life; and a guarantee of security and respect rather than rising instability.

He said belligerent attitudes cannot bring such respect, adding that only when North Korea becomes a responsible member of the international community by following international rules can it can enjoy such respect.

Obama also suggested ways that North Korea can choose to gain respect from international society: returning to the six-party nuclear talks; delivering on promises Pyongyang made in the 2005 joint statement, including a return to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty; and achieving complete and verifiable denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. He said the resolution of North Korea’s prior abduction of Japanese nationals will lead to normalization of relations with neighboring countries.

He also issued a stern warning to the communist country. Saying the U.S. will maintain a strong and effective nuclear deterrent to guarantee the security of its allies, including South Korea and Japan, as long as nuclear weapons exist in North Korea, Obama stressed he will continue to provide a nuclear umbrella to South Korea.

Obama also said Washington will not be threatened by Pyongyang and will send a clear message to the communist country not by words but by actions.

Separately, he declared his commitment to a new policy direction toward Asia while mentioning several times his ties with the region as a child.

Defining China as a partner for cooperation instead of a rival, Obama stressed that a strong China is a source of global growth. On the other hand, he urged a solid alliance and economic cooperation with long-time allies such as Japan and South Korea.

Since his inauguration, Obama has proposed a nuclear-free world in the Czech Republic, a new beginning with the Islamic world in Egypt, a resetting of relations with Russia in Moscow, and a new future for Africa in Ghana.

Though the theme of his speech Saturday was different, he sent a common message that every country must do its part and take responsibility for the global good and that the U.S. is committed to unlimited assistance for all responsible countries.

spear@donga.com jkmas@donga.com