중앙데일리

GNP Leader Pledges Support for Upcoming Summit

June 09,2000
Lee Hoi-chang, president of the main opposition Grand National Party (GNP), held a press conference in Pusan on Friday, during which he pledged "supra-partisan cooperation" for the upcoming inter-Korean summit talks and wished for its success. However, he also came up with a list of "items for the Korean government to consider during the talks."

One of Lee's close aides explained, "Lee Hoi-chang has decided that it would be fairer to communicate the opposition's position in advance, rather than to take issue with problems after the talks."

Pundits also analyzed that Lee came up with the list of demands based on the goal of taking the offensive after the summit talks in order to pave the way for securing a strategically advantageous position, as evidenced by the five items he proposed. They include speedy fulfillment of the 1992 South-North Basic Agreement, confirmation of the life or death of South Korean prisoners of war and people abducted to the North and their repatriation, reunion of families separated by the Korean War and allowing free visits, improving the human rights status of North Korean residents including escapees, and suspension and abolition of mass-destruction weapons programs, such as nuclear, missile and chemical weapons. All the issues are highly sensitive matters for the North.

The GNP president also called on President Kim Dae-jung to "refrain from attending events or visiting places linked to maintaining and strengthening North Korea's one-man rule system" during his visit. In addition, he insisted that economic assistance and cooperation with the North should be pursued based on a guarantee of the North not diverting the aids for military purposes. Lee and the GNP reportedly plan to press the issue further in the process of obtaining the National Assembly's approval for inter-Korean economic cooperation.

When asked whether he plans to agree to a meeting with President Kim after his Pyongyang visit, Lee responded positively by saying, "I haven't received any official notification yet, but will seriously consider the proposal if offered."

An aide also predicted that Lee Hoi-chang would visit Chong Wa Dae to pursue the aforementioned issues, seemingly in an attempt to consolidate his position in the inter-Korean summit talks.



by Park Sung-hui




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