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Ambassador Plaisted UNGA Remarks on Korean Reunification


USUN PRESS RELEASE # 151(00)
FOR RELEASE UPON DELIVERY
October 31, 2000

Statement by Ambassador Joan M. Plaisted, Senior Advisor, on agenda
item 183: Peace, security and reunification on the Korean peninsula,
Plenary, October 31, 2000

Mr. President, the United States is pleased to co-sponsor this
resolution recognizing the historic significance of the summit meeting
between the two leaders of the Republic of Korea and the Democratic
People's Republic of Korea.

We have consistently supported President Kim Dae-jung's engagement
policy and have urged both sides of the Peninsula to engage in this
kind of productive dialogue.

The Joint Declaration announced at the end of the Summit represented a
major breakthrough in achieving durable peace and reunification on the
Peninsula.

We welcome the progress made in implementing that Declaration,
especially the succession of Ministerial-level talks that have taken
place since the Summit.

The United States has encouraged broad international engagement with
the Democratic People's Republic of Korea as that country addresses
areas of international concern, a policy affirmed in Dr. William
Perry's review of U.S. policy in October 1999.

A number of countries have taken steps to normalize ties with the
Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

We welcomed the participation of the Democratic People's Republic of
Korea in the ASEAN Regional Forum, where Secretary of State Madeleine
Albright and Foreign Minister Paek Nam Sun held the first-ever
Ministerial-level meeting between the United States and the Democratic
People's Republic of Korea.

Reflecting these improvements in the overall atmosphere, Chairman Kim
Jong Ii sent his Special Envoy Jo Myong Rok to Washington October
10-12 to convey Chairman Kim's views directly to us.

The visit resulted in the issuance of the October 12 Joint Communique,
and Secretary Albright made an historic trip to Pyongyang just last
week to build upon the progress reported in the Joint Communique.

The Joint Communique included the statement that "neither government
would have hostile intent toward the other and confirmed the
commitment of both governments to make every effort in the future to
build a new relationship free from past enmity."

It went on to note that there are a variety of ways to reduce tension
on the Korean Peninsula and formally end the Korean War by replacing
the 1953 Armistice Agreement with permanent peace arrangements.

These include the Four Party talks, in which the government of the
People's Republic of China participates as an active partner.

The Joint Communique also noted the value of regular diplomatic
contacts, bilaterally and in broader fora, and that the resolution of
the missile issue would make an essential contribution to a
fundamentally improved bilateral relationship and to peace and
security in the Asia-Pacific region.

And it detailed important areas of bilateral cooperation: access to a
sensitive underground site in support of the Agreed Framework;
humanitarian assistance; the recovery of the remains of U.S.
servicemen missing from the Korean War; and support and encouragement
for international efforts against terrorism.

Significantly the Joint Communique began and ended by recognizing that
the historic inter-Korean summit had fundamentally changed the
circumstances on the Korean Peninsula.

The United States expressed its firm commitment to assist, in all
appropriate ways, the continued progress and success of the ongoing
inter-Korean dialogue and initiatives for reconciliation and greater
cooperation, including increased security dialogue.

Mr. President, inter-Korean dialogue is central to establishing
lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula, a peace in which these United
Nations, as a party to the initial conflict, is deeply involved.

Once again, we express our strong support and co-sponsorship for this
resolution.



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