U.S.-Japan Express Strong Support for Inter-Korean Relations

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U.S.-Japan Express Strong Support for Inter-Korean Relations

President Kim Dae-jung held a summit meeting with U.S. President Bill Clinton where they confirmed their common views for the improvement of inter-Korea relations as well as North Korea's relations with the United States and Japan. Prior to this meeting, President Kim had another conference with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori where they too confirm similar views.

The two presidents met each other privately in the Okura Hotel after attending the funeral of late Prime Minister of Japan Keizo Obuchi, and decided to work towards improving their relations with North Korea. This is according to Park Joon-young, a Chong Wa Dae spokesman.

President Kim after explaining his basic stance for the inter-Korea summit and asked for the cooperation of neighboring countries to help establish peace on the Korean Peninsula and a new order for the Northeast Asia region.

President Kim strongly pointed out that regular inter-Korea summits should be held in the future and that, "We should start with resolving easy issues first." A diplomatic source interpreted this statement as, "While holding the historic summit in Pyongyang the issue of nuclear missiles and other armaments will be mentioned but will not be the focus of too much attention in this beginning stage."

President Clinton also explained the United States' policy of easing sanctions to help ease the tension with North Korea as discussed at the U.S.-North Korea negotiations held last month in Rome. He said the inter-Korea summit must play an initiating role for the establishment of peace on the Korea Peninsula and he also expressed his support for President Kim.

by Kim Jin-kook

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