중앙데일리

North seeking diplomatic support

July 30,2008
Pyongyang is poised to take its months-long demand that Seoul respect the principles of last October’s inter-Korean joint declaration to the international community.

North Korea, which managed to present its position during the Asean Regional Forum in Singapore last week, is now pushing the agenda at the annual meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement being held this week in Iran. NAM, with 118 member countries, is an international organization of nations considering themselves not formally aligned with or against a major power bloc.

Pyongyang’s move is likely to put Seoul in a politically delicate position; it has to prove it supports the inter-Korean declaration and that the North, not the South, does not.

During a meeting with Vietnam’s Communist Party chief Nong Duc Manh, North Korea’s Foreign Minister Park Eui-choon was promised Vietnam’s support for “the North’s struggle for reunification based on principles of the June 15 and Oct. 4 joint declarations,” the North’s Korea Central News Agency said yesterday.

After the visit to Vietnam, Park flew to Tehran to convince other NAM member countries to support the North.

South Korea sent Oh Joon, director of the Foreign Ministry’s office of multilateral global and legal affairs, to Tehran to make its point.

Pyongyang has long claimed Seoul’s new administration under President Lee Myung-bak does not respect the declaration signed by North Korean leader Kim Jong-il and former South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun last year. The declaration addressed principles including mutual respect and trust, easing military tension on the Korean Peninsula and eventually signing a peace treaty to officially end the Korean War.

Signing a peace treaty with the South and neighboring nations is considered by the North a step forward to gain international legitimacy for its regime. Therefore, Pyongyang has put more emphasis on the 2007 declaration than any past agreements with Seoul.

But Seoul has contended all major agreements Pyongyang has signed should be equally recognized and respected, including the Sept. 19, 2005 agreement made in the six-party talks, a breakthrough agreement that mapped out the North’s detailed denuclearization process.


By Jung Ha-won Staff Reporter [hawon@joongang.co.kr]



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