&#91EDITORIALS&#93Trip of grave importance

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&#91EDITORIALS&#93Trip of grave importance

Yim Sung-joon, the Blue House secretary for foreign affairs and national security, left yesterday for the United States with a heavy heart. There seems to be no simple resolution to North Korea's nuclear ambitions; Washington seems unwilling to accept Seoul's compromise proposal. Mr. Yim's mission also includes explaining the spurt of anti-American sentiment in South Korea and seeking U.S. understanding of the situation here.

Mr. Yim will probably meet only a few officials in Washington, but the U.S. government will have to hold serious talks with him since concerns about North Korea are becoming worse. Since Washington has made clear that it will resolve the situation by diplomatic cooperation with the international community, the U.S. government's consultation with Mr. Yim is of grave importance. Mr. Yim will deliver to Washington the results of Seoul's special envoys' visits to China and Russia.

Mr. Yim will also bear a message from President Kim Dae-jung and outline Seoul's proposal to deter the North's nuclear plans. He will probably tell Washington of Seoul's willingness to support the International Atomic Energy Agency's resolution, adopted Monday, to urge Pyeongyang to immediately comply with its pledge on nuclear safeguards. U.S. President George W. Bush repeated that the United States has no intention to invade North Korea, expressing hope to find a solution through dialogue. Both points are what Seoul has long stressed and are no different from what Mr. Yim will convey.

Seoul and Washington should first understand the public sentiment in each country on this issue. Seoul and Washington are said to be deeply split on how to resolve the North Korean nuclear issue.

Washington reportedly is considering phasing out its troops stationed here or pulling back its troops from the frontline. Such talk will not help resolve the crisis, but further damage South Korea-U.S. relations. We urge Seoul and Washington to avoid insincere posturing.
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