Goh Says Firmer Stance Against North to Stay

    May 19, 2003 20:08

    Prime Minister Goh Kun on Monday confirmed that the government would maintain the tougher stance it has taken against North Korea's nuclear aspirations following President Roh Moo-hyun's trip to the United States. “We will meet the situation in a realistic and flexible manner while firmly adhering to our position and principles against North Korea’s unreasonable requests,” Goh said.

    Goh had been asked by the Grand National Party assemblyman Maeng Hyoung-gyu whether he thought Roh might change his stance due to domestic pressure. Goh said Roh would not, but that if that did happen, Goh would advise against it.

    “In the future, if North Korea’s nuclear problems worsen, our exchanges and cooperation with North Korea will inevitably be affected," Goh said. "We have stressed this at every opportunity, such as at the ministerial level talks, to prevent North Korea from worsening the situation.”

    Unification Minister Jeong Se-hyun also shed light on the "further steps" mentioned in the post-summit joint declaration, which would be considered if the threat from North Korea increases. “That refers to a situation in which the North prepares to fire missiles or announces that it has completed reprocessing of its spent fuel rods," Jeong said. When asked if sudden missile launches into the West Sea would fit into that category, he said, “We’ll have to see.”

    Still, Jeong said that Seoul's basic policies toward North Korea had not been changed by last week's summit talks - that the "peace and prosperity" policy would remain unchanged. “Fertilizer and food support aide will be provided regardless of the political situation, and it is not proper to link those with nuclear weapons,” he said.
    (Hong Seok-jun, udo@chosun.com)
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