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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Tracking Number:  144205

Title:  "ROK Envoy: US Presence in Northeast Asia Still Needed."

The Republic of Korea's Ambassador to the UN, Hyun Hong-Choo, said that the "real confrontation" on the peninsula is over, but that the US presence is still needed. (900625)

Date:  19900625


06/25/90 *


(Article on remarks by U.N. Ambassador Hyun)


New York -- The Republic of Korea's Ambassador to the United Nations, Hyun Hong-Choo, said June 25 on the 40th anniversary of the beginning of the Korean War that the "real confrontation" on the peninsula is over, but that the U. S. presence in Northeast Asia is still needed.

Hyun, whose father died in the second week of the Korean War, remembered Seoul as a city "reduced to an ash heap of burned out buildings, wrecked roads and bridges, and shattered families and lives."

He became head of a household before he reached the age of 10.

Now as his country's permanent representative to the United Nations, Hyun said the ROK today has "stability, prosperity and, above all, we have a future as a mature and free nation."

The United States, which has maintained more than 40,000 troops on Korean territory since the end of the Korean War in 1953, must still play an important role in the region, he said.

"The real confrontation is over on the Korean peninsula," Hyun said at an all-day seminar on Korea held at the Carnegie Council on Ethics and International Affairs, a non-profit organization devoted to promoting ethics and international affairs.

"We will need a different type of (U.S.) presence even after tensions are reduced. We need the U.S. presence in Korea and in surrounding areas because no other country than the United States can carry that function."

Hyun said reduction of military forces has begun in the ROK and the Seoul government can "accelerate the rate of reduction," but it should be carried out proportionately with a reduction of threats from North Korea.

The ambassador said he agrees with former U.S. National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski that the United States is no more a world policeman, but it should play the role of an air traffic controller who will prevent collisions.

As a close aide to Korean President Roh Tae Woo, Hyun attended the unprecedented June 4 meeting between Roh and Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev in San Francisco's

GE 2 EPF112 Fairmont Hotel, site of the first meeting between the five World War II powers that became the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council.

The Roh-Gorbachev meeting in San Francisco not only broke the ice of the Cold War but heralded a new era of relations between the two countries, Hyun said.

Admitting the Koreas into the United Nations may be the last episode in the worldwide effort to end the Cold War and the Roh-Gorbachev meeting may have paved the way for that admission. With a possible resumption of diplomatic relations between Moscow and Seoul, the Soviet Union hopefully will not veto the ROK's U.N. application, Hyun said.

China will be the "only veto obstacle and the lone voice in opposition to our entry -- an unpopular stance that the Chinese may not want to take," Hyun said.

"In this sense, the meeting at San Francisco can be the signal of a thaw in the last legacy of the Cold War," the ambassador said in his prepared remarks.

Admitting the Koreas into the United Nations would materialize the "peace dividend," Hyun said, pointing out that it would open the North Korean market, which he termed as "26 million more hungry mouths" for American farmers in Indiana and Nebraska.

The ambassador said the Seoul government's U.N. membership would be guided by three principles: "First, we are willing to engage in any constructive dialogue with any party at any time; second, our aim is not to perpetuate the division of our nation but to utilize the United Nations as a forum where our two sides can exchange ideas on the realistic unification of our people; finally, we will not be hasty in our efforts, but we will not sit idly by and let other world events dictate the pace of our work. We will seize the opportunities presented by the new international climate."


File Identification:  06/25/90, EP-112
Product Name:  Wireless File
Product Code:  WF
Thematic Codes:  140; 3TR; 1UN
Target Areas:  EA
PDQ Text Link:  144205

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