Pole bullish after North visit

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Pole bullish after North visit

On his first official visit to Seoul after meeting with his counterparts in Pyeongyang, Boguslaw Zalewski, deputy foreign minister of Poland, said Thursday he was encouraged by the “new language” being used by North Korea regarding the nuclear standoff.
Mr. Zalewski said there was “an important distinction” between the tough, ideological language used by the North on his first visit there in 1989 and the somewhat softer language he heard during his visit this month.
“There is a new understanding of the situation,” Mr. Zalewski said, without revealing details of his conversations with North Korean officials. “The subject of eventual discussion about control [of the nuclear facilities] was not refused.”
Still, Mr. Zalewski reaffirmed that North Korea is looking for a full security guarantee from the U.S. as well as financial compensation if they are to give up their nuclear program. Mr. Zalewski refrained from revealing exactly how many “billions of dollars” had been mentioned.
“They are looking for new initiatives, but initiatives that will be done by the U.S. first,” he said. “They’re not yet ready to give access to the independent commission to fully control their nuclear facilities.”
Poland has maintained a presence at Panmunjeom since the armistice was signed in 1953, as part of the Neutral Nations Supervisory Commission. During his week of visits to the Korean Peninsula, Mr. Zalewski was able to visit Panmunjeom from both the North and the South within three days. “It was my personal wish to cross the border from the North to the South,” said Mr. Zalewski. However, his request was denied and he flew to Seoul from Pyeongyang via Beijing.
As Poland has known 123 years of division itself, Mr. Zalewski said, “it is a political and moral pain that still there are divided nations.”


by Kirsten Jerch
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