N.Korea 'Cares More About Dollars Than PSI'

      April 23, 2009 08:43

      North Korea seemed more interested in earning dollars than whether the South joins the U.S.-led Proliferation Security Initiative, an official said after an inter-Korean meeting Tuesday in the border city of Kaesong. The official said threats over Seoul's plan to join the PSI, which aims to intercept ships suspected of carrying weapons of mass destruction or related material, was nothing but a scare tactic to keep the South Korean government under its thumb, he added.

      South Korea had feared the North would announce the closure of the Kaesong Industrial Complex in case the South joins the PSI, but those fears were apparently unfounded.

      In the press briefing Wednesday, Unification Ministry spokesman Kim Ho-nyoun said, "At the meeting in Kaesong, North Korea only made two demands which it had already announced earlier," namely a raise for North Korean workers at the industrial park and payment of land use fees. North Korean officials only made a comment, not a demand, about the PSI issue, he added. That suggests the PSI was not on the North's agenda in the first place but North Korean officials merely reiterated a previous statement at the meeting.

      South Korea has several times delayed joining the initiative for fear of provoking the North at a sensitive time, but now officials here fear they may have been overly cautious.

      "Although 94 countries including Russia have joined the PSI, North Korea has never taken issue with it, but because we have failed to reach consensus at home, we have given the North an opening to poke its nose into our business," the official said.

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