TYPE=WORLD OPINION ROUNDUP
TITLE=KOREAN SUMMIT RAISES SECURITY ISSUES
INTRO: Such was the historic and unprecedented nature
of last week's summit between North and South Korean
leaders that the world press continues to comment on
Analysts are now contemplating how a less-threatening
North Korea, while still maintaining its huge army and
potential for long-range nuclear or biological
missiles, will change security calculations in Asia
and the world.
We call on ___________ now for a global sampling of
editorial and other newspaper comment in this week's
World Opinion Roundup.
TEXT: For years, North Korea's huge military buildup,
complete with an intermediate-range missile capable of
landing a nuclear bomb or chemical or biological
weapons in metropolitan Tokyo, as well as all of South
Korea, has been a major security worry for the West.
And intelligence information indicated that Pyongyang
was dealing sophisticated weaponry with a number of
other so-called rogue states, such as Iraq.
The question many newspaper editorial desks are trying
to figure out now is how that equation has changed,
following the unexpectedly cordial Korean summit last
week in Pyongyang.
The North still has the weapons, and the world's
fourth-largest standing army, but its leader, Kim Jong
Il, appeared to be less of a threat following his
friendly meetings with South Korean President Kim Dae-
Many papers are cautious about giving the meetings'
friendly tone too much credibility, but others are
hopeful that it could be the beginning of the end of
the last vestiges of the Cold War. We begin our
sampling in South Korea. Hankook Ilbo notes the
partial lifting of U-S economic sanctions against the
North, announced Monday by President Clinton:
VOICE: While the action had been expected for
some time, its significance, especially coming
right after the ... summit, is obvious. ... If
the North, however, can develop this momentum
provided by the U-S action to build an improved
investment atmosphere, this could attract
TEXT: Across the capital, the Hankyoreh Shinmun
VOICE: With the 50-year-old U-S sanctions
against the North out of the way ... the two
nations how have an increased likelihood of
improving bilateral relations. ... With the
recent Korea summit rapidly advancing inter-
Korean relationship, other countries, including
the United States, seem very interested about
the content of the conversation ... during the
TEXT: In yet another large Seoul daily, Chosun Ilbo,
we read this:
VOICE: The Korean government should be able to
clarify any suspicion the United States might
have regarding the recent Pyongyang summit when
Secretary Albright comes to town. According to
media reports, President Kim [Dae-jung] and
[President] Kim Jong Il had a positive
conversation about the North Korean nuclear-
missile issue during the summit. We also hear
that Kim Jong Il's message on that issue has
been delivered to President Clinton.
TEXT: And Segye Ilbo has thgis comment:
VOICE: Washington's easing of economic
sanctions, when it comes, will serve to
encourage a rapprochement between the United
States and North Korea as well as in inter-
Korean relations. Coming after the summit, the
U-S action will also carry the message of
America's positive assessment of [it] and of the
message that the North eventually receives
"carrots" if it engages in dialogue rather than
developing weapons of mass destruction.
TEXT: In the North, Pyongyang's Rodung Sinmun says:
VOICE: It is the unanimous desire and wishes of
all the Korean people to achieve the peaceful
reunification of the country that was divided by
... outside forces. ... The issue of national
reunification is an internal issue of the nation
to rejoin severed blood ties. ... The peaceful
reunification of Korea requires the U-S troops'
pullback from South Korea, detente between the
North and the South and lasting peace.
TEXT: We go to the West now, across the Yellow Sea,
for reaction from China, where Beijing's English-
language China Daily writes:
VOICE: The United States has changed its policy
toward [North Korea] ... to one of engagement.
The suggestion of "constructive cooperation"
with [North Korea] ... is indicative of the U-S
position. The U-S "hegemonic mentality" is the
biggest obstacle in the peace process.
TEXT: In Hong Kong, an autonomous region of China
where the press is much freer than in the rest of the
nation, we catch this in the South China Morning Post
VOICE: Fears of war have turned into hopes for
peace, and the main question is whether these
hopes have outpaced reality. ... The North has
no fewer troops along the shared border this
week than it did last week. The future of its
missile and nuclear programs has not been
decided. Its willingness to open up to visitors
and investors remains unclear.
TEXT: The other major geopolitical player in the
region reacted this way. We touch down in Japan to
hear Tokyo's huge Mainichi Shimbun.
VOICE: Hopefully, the partial U-S easing of
sanctions against [North Korea] will lead
eventually to the improvement of bilateral ties.
But difficult negotiations are expected at U-S -
[North Korean] missile talks opening in New York
at the end of this month.
TEXT: Turning to Asahi, we read this front-page
VOICE: The U-S - Japan Security Treaty has
contributed tremendously toward ... Japan's
economic prosperity. For many more years to
come, Japan's diplomacy, built on the treaty,
will continue. But ... at a time when a
dramatic shift from ... hostility to national
reconciliation and reunification is occurring on
the Korean Peninsula, Japan should examine what
role it should and can play...
TEXT: Now to the land "down under," Australia, which
also has been watching the Korean summit with extreme
interest. The national daily, The Australian, in
VOICE: The tenor of the agreement [signed by
the two leaders at the summit] has had global
impact in countries as diverse as the United
States, Japan and China. ... Notwithstanding the
promise of this document ... expectations must
also be grounded in history. The
[reconciliation] agreement ...follows similar
attempts in 1972 and 1991, both of which failed,
and led to renewed hostility. And ... the
toughest questions of regional security remain
to be broached.
TEXT: For the view from New Zealand, we check in with
the Dominion in Wellington, the capital, where there
is this comment.
VOICE: By any standards, the meeting ... was a
momentous breakthrough. Though Kim Dae-jung's
visit ... is hugely significant symbolically,
its value lies mainly in signaling a shift in
TEXT: The summit was also viewed closely in
Indonesia, where the Jakarta government has its own
troubles with a still-deflated economy, and deadly
Muslim-Christian rioting in the Spice Islands.
Jakarta's daily Merdeka suggests:
VOICE: Deep-seated past suspicion between the
two Koreas represents a constraint on the
reconciliation process. There are still huge
differences in political and cultural systems.
Given this backdrop, both sides must take
constructive steps toward mutual confidence. ...
Other countries must also give concrete support.
The United States has reduced its economic
blockade. Russia, China and Japan are to
TEXT: And there is this wry observation from Media
Indonesia, referring to ethnic strife in that country:
VOICE: The good news [from Pyongyang] both
pleases and saddens us. As the Koreas begin
cooperating, we [in Indonesia] self-destruct.
TEXT: In Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia's big English-
language daily, The Straits Times, notes there is a
new "Korean calculus" afoot.
VOICE: Detente between the two Koreas, wishful
thinking only days ago, is now a distinct
likelihood. ... The international strategic
implications of the development call for a sober
reflection by Asia beyond [the Koreas]. ... A
Korean peace would increase ironically the
competition for influence among the principals
involved-China, the United States, Japan and
Russia. ... If North Korea comes in from the
cold, the United States and Japan (and
furtively, Taiwan) will lose their justification
for building the missile-defense shield the
Clinton administration is keen on...
TEXT: On that point, we conclude this essentially
Asian sampling of journalistic comment on the
strategic implications of last week's Korean summit.
22-Jun-2000 19:53 PM EDT (22-Jun-2000 2353 UTC)
Source: Voice of America
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