s. Korea govt. opposes sanctions on north: cites Cuba blockade as example of failure
ffeldman at bellatlantic.net
Mon Dec 30 05:32:41 MST 2002
South Korea warns against sanctions [and cites Cuba as an example of their
failure. Keep in mind that the United States maintains nuclear weapons
aimed at the north in south Korea. -- Fred Feldman]
By Paul Eckert (excerpt)
SEOUL (Reuters) - South Korea, underscoring differences with the United
States, says pressure and isolation will not persuade communist North Korea
to halt its nuclear brinkmanship.
South Korean President Kim Dae-jung, speaking ahead of the departure of
international arms inspectors kicked out of North Korea, said on Monday that
dialogue was the only option. The United States has called for economic
"Pressure and isolation have never been successful with communist
countries -- Cuba is one example," Kim told his cabinet, according to
remarks published by the presidential Blue House.
"We will work closely with our allies to solve this Korean peninsula problem
and we will firmly oppose North Korea`s nuclear arms programme, but no
matter what, we will pursue a peaceful solution," he said.
"We cannot go to war with North Korea and we can`t go back to the Cold War
system and extreme confrontation."
"We are not planning a pre-emptive strike," Secretary of State Colin Powell
told NBC television. "The United States has a full range of capabilities --
political, economic, diplomatic and, yes, military. But we are not trying to
create a crisis atmosphere by threatening North Korea."
Powell`s words made headlines in South Korea, but did little to calm worries
that have roiled Seoul`s financial markets since last week. The won currency
traded weaker and Seoul`s main stock index closed down 4.5 percent on
Monday, the year`s last trading day.
North Korea has called sanctions tantamount to war and vowed not to bow to
U.S. pressure. But Pyongyang said on Sunday a peaceful resolution would be
possible if Washington guaranteed North Korea`s security with a
non-aggression pact. Powell ruled out immediate talks with the North
Koreans, arguing that would reward Pyongyang for violating international
The foreign ministers of China and South Korea talked by telephone on
Saturday, agreeing to seek a peaceful solution to the nuclear issue through
dialogue, China`s state media said.
President Kim will hand over power in February to President-elect Roh
Moo-hyun, who has vowed to carry on Kim`s "sunshine policy" of aid and
dialogue with the North.
South Korea is loath to drive North Korea into a corner because Pyongyang
has deployed the bulk of its 1.1-million-strong army, the world`s fifth
largest, just across their common border.
South Korea`s capital Seoul lies within range of the North`s artillery.
But Kim and Roh both condemned North Korea last week after Pyongyang
disabled U.N. monitoring devices at a nuclear plant that could produce
weapons-grade plutonium -- part of a programme that might have already
produced one or two atomic bombs.
On Friday, Pyongyang ordered inspectors from the International Atomic Energy
Agency to leave.
The Bush administration, which is keen to keep its focus on Iraq, is pushing
the U.N. Security Council to take up the crisis on the world`s last Cold War
frontier by January 12.
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