중앙데일리

North expected to extend freeze on missile tests

Sept 06,2002
North Korea is expected to make clear its intention to maintain its missile-test moratorium in the joint declaration to be issued at the Japan-North Korea summit on Sept. 17, a major Japanese daily reported Friday.

Quoting informed sources, the Asahi Shimbun said an outline of a draft of the statement also would commit Japan to providing economic assistance to North Korea instead of "compensation" for its 35 years of colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula. The amount would be based on the sum offered to Seoul when it normalized diplomatic ties with Tokyo in 1965, the newspaper said.

Japan provided $500 million in loans and aid to South Korea when the two governments restored their diplomatic relations. Some Tokyo officials, however, believe that the amount should exceed $10 billion, according to another Japanese daily, the Mainichi Shimbun.

"As for an accounting of the past," Japan and North Korea are expected to abandon rights to reclaim property held before the end of World War II, the Asahi reported.

To Pyeongyang's longstanding demand for an apology for the colonial rule, Japan is expected to express regrets in a wording that reflects a 1995 statement by the then Prime Minister, Tomiichi Murayama, the newspaper said. At that time, Mr. Murayama expressed "deep remorse and heartfelt apology" for the suffering Japan caused to many Asian countries.

North Korea in 2000 announced a three-year freeze on its test launches of missiles. Japan and the United States have been seeking ways to extend the moratorium beyond the approaching deadline.

In addition to the tentative agreements in the draft, a resolution to the thorny issue of the missing Japanese citizens, allegedly kidnapped by North Korean agents, has yet to be hammered out, the Asahi said. Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi has repeatedly noted that the issue must see some progress before diplomatic ties can be mended.

Meanwhile, the United States will decide when to send its envoy to North Korea after Mr. Koizumi returns from his visit to Pyeongyang, according to U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage.

In an interview with South Korea's KBS network Thursday, Mr. Armitage said that Washington will hold internal discussions after the meeting to decide the schedule of James Kelly, assistant secretary of state for the East Asian and Pacific regions.

There is no precondition to Mr. Kelly's visit to North Korea, Mr. Armitage said, adding that Mr. Kelly is preparing for his mission. He also assessed the Japanese leader's visit to the North as a positive event.

by Ser Myo-ja




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