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Ros-Lehtinen and Richardson

Posted December. 10, 2010 11:30,   


The late North Korean leader Kim Il Sung frequently saw and lavishly treated Tokuma Utsunomiya (1906-2000), a former lawmaker of Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party. Utsunomiya was the eldest son of Taro Utsunomiya, who was the commander of the imperial Japanese army that suppressed Korea’s 1919 pro-independence movement. Saying South Korea started the 1950-1953 Korean War by invading the North, Tokuma Utsunomiya praised the North and criticized the South.

After a meeting with Kim, Tokuma Utsunomiya praised Pyongyang as “the world’s most beautiful city of culture” in an article carried by a pro-North Korea magazine. He was also enthusiastic about idolizing Kim and promoting Pyongyang’s so-called peace policy, claiming the North had ruled out an armed invasion of the South and worked to ease tension on the Korean Peninsula.

Former U.S. Energy Secretary Bill Richardson, who will retire as governor of New Mexico late this month, will visit the North Dec. 16-20 at the invitation of North Korean First Vice Minister Kim Kye Gwan. Since the 1990s, Richardson has tried to elevate his political status through North Korea by making frequent visits to Pyongyang. The North invited him probably in an attempt to get out of its diplomatic predicament caused by its sinking of a South Korean naval ship and attack on Yeonpyeong Island.

Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a Republican lawmaker who will chair the House Foreign Affairs Committee when the new U.S. Congress convenes next month, said Wednesday, “Rogue regimes never respond to anything less than hardball,” pledging “to do all that I can to isolate U.S. enemies while empowering and strengthening our allies.” She also expressed support for imposing strong sanctions against countries that exploit their people and refuse to act responsibly. Her comments suggest that both the U.S. administration and Congress will not weaken pressure on the North.

Josef Stalin and Mao Zedong, whose reigns resulted in millions of their countrymen dead, occasionally invited American and European intellectuals and politicians to instill a false impression of them as pacifists. Quite a few progressive intellectuals played into their appeasement offensives and acted as their mouthpieces throughout their lives, failing to see the true face of the two communist dictators. The Kim Jong Il government of North Korea is also attempting to buy favors from foreigners and make false peace offensives. Politicians who lack deep understanding of the situation on the Korean Peninsula cannot bring about positive change in the North or ease tension on the peninsula by visiting Pyongyang on the premise of the North’s false peace offensive.

Editorial Writer Kwon Sun-hwal (shkwon@donga.com)