중앙데일리

North Korean Relations with United States and Japan Improve

Mar 15,2000

North Korea's relations with the United States and Japan appear to be on the up as obstacles to further improved relations are removed one by one.
On March 13 North Korea resolved the issue of kidnapped Japanese nationals, the thorniest hindrance on the road to normalizing diplomatic ties. The two nations held Red Cross talks, separate from the main meeting, and announced a joint agreement.
The joint agreement includes the following: Japanese spouses will be allowed to visit home in April or May, their third such visit; a thorough investigation will be launched into the disappeared (kidnapped Japanese nationals) and if they are found, appropriate measures will be taken; investigations will begin into Koreans who disappeared before 1945.
It was essential for Japan to resolve the kidnapping issue in order to forge ties with North Korea, as the Japanese right wing insisted that without the resolution of this issue it would hinder any further talks. It now appears that North Korea has made acceptable efforts to provide Japan with an adequate response.
Up until now, North Korea refused to admit that it had kidnapped Japanese nationals. Now it has tackled the problem without losing too much face. The agreed "appropriate measures" to be taken with respect to the kidnapped Japanese remain to be clarified, but it is predicted that they will be concluded quietly after negotiating with Japan, along with corresponding Korean demands for information on their disappeared.
In addition, the United States has not ruled out the possibility of removing North Korea from its list of terrorist-sponsoring nations.
In a joint press conference on March 13 with Korean Foreign Minister Lee Joung-binn, US State Secretary Madeleine Albright made no comment after Mr. Yi said, "North Korea has not been engaged in terrorist acts toward South Korea for the past several years," though her countenance reportedly did not appear to contradict the statement.
There are four requirements for a country to be released from its status as a terrorist-sponsoring nation. Of these, one must be fulfilled by the United States: the administration, under the direct responsibility of the secretary of state, must guarantee to Congress that the nation has not sponsored terrorism for the past six months and that it will not do so in the future and seeks a political agreement.
Judging from Secretary Albright's attitude that day, it appears that if North Korea demonstrates a sincere will, there will not be any problem for the US administration to begin an agreement procedure.
North Korea is in urgent need for economic support. The general analysis in diplomatic circles is that North Korea will push for a lift through a "technical agreement" with the United States as it did with Japan.
An official at the Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade said, "There is no knowing which direction North Korea's talks with the United States and Japan will take because North Korea has employed brinkmanship diplomacy all along. However, as thorny issues with the United States and Japan are being resolved, we can expect a smooth sailing - even if it takes some time."


by Lee Chul-hee







북-미, 북-일간 관계 개선

북-미,북-일간 관계개선의 걸림돌이 제거되면서 이들 세 나라 사이에 모처럼 청신호가 켜지고 있다.
우선 북한은 지난 13일 일본과의 수교협상에서 양국간 최대 현안인 ‘일본인 납치’문제에 대해 공동합의문을 발표,이를 성공리에 매듭지었다.
공동 합의문에는 ▶일본인 배우자의 제3차 고향방문 4∼5월중 실시 ▶행방불명자(일본인 납치)에 대한 조사착수및 확인후 적절한 조치시행 ▶1945년 이전 행방불명된 조선인에 대한 조사 등이 들어있다.
지금까지 ‘일본인 납치’를 인정하지 않았던 북한도 체면을 구기지 않으면서 이 문제를 해결한 것이다.
북·일 양국은 앞으로 ‘일본인 납치자들에 대한 적절한 조치’와 ‘조선인 행방불명자 조사’등을 서로 요구함으로써 피차 원만한 합의를 이룰 것으로 전문가들은 내다보고 있다.
테러지원국 명단 해제 문제를 논의하고 있는 북·미 테러회담도 해제 가능성을 상당히 열어놓고 있다.
매들린 올브라이트 미 국무장관은 지난 13일 이정빈(李廷彬)외교부장관이 “(북한이)최근 몇년간 남한을 상대로 테러활동을 하지 않았다”고 밝힌데 대해 직접 언급은 없었으나 긍정적인 반응을 보였다.
테러지원국 해제를 위해 필요한 4가지 조치중 미국이 직접 나서야 할 것은 국무장관이 미의회에 출석,“최근 6개월간 테러를 지원한 적이 없고 앞으로도 하지 않을 것”이라는 보증과 함께 의회의 동의를 구하는 일이다.
올브라이트 장관의 이날 태도로 보아 북한이 성의있는 자세를 보이면 미행정부가 의회의 동의를 얻는 데는 무리가 없을 것으로 보인다.
외교부 관계자는 “벼랑끝 외교를 구사했던 북한인지라 미·일 회담을 어느쪽으로 끌고갈지 모르지만 그동안의 난제들이 풀리고 있는만큼 다소 시일이 걸리더라도 순항이 기대된다”고 말했다








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