South Korean President: Reunification can be Acheived

Published June 15th, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

South Korea's President Kim Dae-Jung said that reunification could be achieved as he returned to Seoul on Thursday from his historic three-day trip to North Korea. 

South Korea's Vice Foreign Minister Ban Ki-Moon briefed envoys from the United States, China, Japan and Russia on this week's historic Korean summit in Pyongyang, an aide said. 

The South Korean government will send Hwang Won-Tak, a senior presidential security advisor, to the United States and Ban to China and Russia soon, the aide said. 

It will also seek support for the summit accord at a meeting of the ASEAN Regional Forum, a key Southeast Asian council on security issues, in Bangkok next month. 

Ban briefed the envoys about the Pyongyang summit between President Kim Dae-Jung of South Korea and the North's Kim Jong-Il and encouraged them to ask their countries to support the accord, the aide said. 

"The envoys all expressed surprise and congratulations on the summit results," he said. 

South Korean officials said China's ambassador Wu Dawei expressed great satisfaction with the summit, which he said paved the way for peace and stability throughout northeast Asia. 

The Japanese ambassador Terusuke Terada predicted the summit would bring stability to the Korean peninsula and help normalization talks between Tokyo and Pyongyang, they said. 

Yevgeny Afanasiev, the Russian ambassador, said Moscow strongly supports the agreement between the Korean leaders, vowing to play a constructive role in implementing the summit agreement. 

Analysts, however, warned against pinning too much hope on the summit, noting that history shows the detente could fizzle out as quickly as it started. 

Scott Snyder, a US expert at the Asia Foundation, said it remained to be seen whether the summit "will be another false start that has characteristically bedeviled the inter-Korean process." 

"I don't think we see in this the seeds of anything that would change the possibility of a missile threat to the United States that we would have to deal with," commented US State Department spokesman Richard Boucher. 

A joint declaration, signed late Wednesday by the two Kims, dodged crucial security issues such as North Korea's nuclear and missile programs which remain a major concern for the United States and Japan. 

But the Seoul government said in a report Thursday that Pyongyang recognized "the need to adjust its domestic and foreign policies in a pragmatic direction, in order to adapt itself to the international climate in the post-Cold War era." 

Kim Dae-Jung urged North Korea to settle its missile program and other international issues "at an early date so that Pyongyang's relations with neighboring countries wil be improved," the report said. 

Such an effort will contribute to "removing a factor of instability" in northeast Asia, while enabling the isolated North to take part in the international community, the report said - SEOUL (AFP) 



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