Seoul Found to Have Intended to Delay Japan-N. Korea Talks

Politics

Seoul, March 29 (Jiji Press)--The administration of then South Korean President Roh Tae-woo intended to delay negotiations between Japan and North Korea to normalize their diplomatic ties, backpedaling on its earlier stance supportive of better relations between Tokyo and Pyongyang, diplomatic records from around 1990 revealed Monday

According to the declassified records released by the South Korean Foreign Ministry, the Roh administration set the policy of preventing quick progress in Japan-North Korea normalization talks that were launched in line with the so-called three-party joint declaration in September 1990 by a Japanese political delegation and then North Korean leader Kim Il Sung.

Seoul initially hoped to see better Tokyo-Pyongyang ties, with Roh, in a special declaration in July 1988 to improve relations with China and the then Soviet Union, offering cooperation to North Korean efforts to normalize ties with Japan and the United States.

The ministry also noted in an internal report in December 1989 that improvement in North Korean ties with the two countries would lead the reclusive state to become a responsible member of the international community.

But as soon as preliminary talks for full-fledged normalization negotiations began between Tokyo and Pyongyang in November 1990, the Roh administration stipulated in internal documents that it would endeavor to delay Japan-North Korea normalization as much as possible, or at least to prevent it from coming ahead of South Korea mending ties with China.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press