중앙데일리

Kim Dae-jung to visit North

Private trip will include a meeting with Kim Jong-il in Pyongyang

Dec 19,2005
Former President Kim Dae-jung said he would meet North Korean leader Kim Jong-il for a second time in the near future. He said the governments of both Koreas had agreed to his trip, but that he would travel there in a private capacity, not as an envoy of the Roh administration.
Mr. Kim told the Monthly Joong-Ang in an interview Thursday that he had five issues to discuss with Kim Jong-il. They include converting the six-nation nuclear talks in Beijing into a permanent forum, dealing with hard-line U.S. rhetoric and coping with international condemnation of North Korea for its human rights abuses.
He said he also wanted to discuss what he called Japan’s drift to the political right and ways of hastening the peaceful reunification of the Korean Peninsula.
The visit, at an unspecified time, would be Mr. Kim’s second encounter with Kim Jong-il, whom he met in June 2000 for the first meeting of the two nations’ heads of government. “Pyongyang has requested a visit several times, and President Roh Moo-hyun officially asked me to make the visit,” he said.
“The variable to determine the date is my health condition,” Mr. Kim added. The former president, 79, was hospitalized twice earlier this year for pneumonia and has suffered chronic kidney problems. He appeared hopeful, though, of traveling soon, saying his health has improved greatly as of late.
The deputy head of Seoul’s National Security Council, Lee Jong-seok, confirmed Mr. Kim’s visit and promised full cooperation.
Asked about the recent verbal barrage from Washington aimed at the North, Mr. Kim said, “Although they use strong rhetoric, I don’t think they don’t have the strength to carry out the military operations that the neo-conservatives insist upon.” He added, “South Korea cooperates with the United States for peace. If war is the premise, everything must change.” He also called U.S.-South Korean relations “rough,” but said they were in a transitional stage.
He said he did not believe that recent U.S. financial sanctions or criticism about human rights in the North were the harbinger of the end of the six-way nuclear weapons negotiations.
He repeated an anecdote that he has mentioned before, saying Kim Jong-il told him in 2000 that there was a role for the United States on the Korean Peninsula to balance Russian, Chinese and Japanese influence.


by Huh Eui-do, Kim Hong-gyun


dictionary dictionary | 프린트 메일로보내기 내블로그에 저장