- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 5, 2000

Kim's sunshine policy

South Korean Ambassador Yang Sung-chul yesterday said his country's policy of engagement with communist North Korea is making progress toward the reunification of both nations.

Mr. Yang said the political strategy begun two years ago by President Kim Dae-jung has already opened diplomatic doors on the Korean peninsula and in the United States, Europe and Southeast Asia.

"The inter-Korean peace process which is currently unfolding will surely encounter ups and downs, temporary stalemates and setbacks," he told an Asia Society luncheon in Washington.

"However, with vision and determination, President Kim and the Korean people will succeed in removing the Cold War glacier from the Korean peninsula and pave the way for the eventual realization of national unity."

Mr. Yang said Mr. Kim's "Sunshine Policy" promotes "peace and mutual prosperity instead of mutual enmity and conflict."

South Korea responds forcefully to aggression from the North but continues dialogue, the ambassador noted, explaining the difference between the current strategy and earlier South Korean policies.

He cited Mr. Kim's visit to the North in June, when he met North Korean leader Kim Jong-il, and several other North-South meetings as evidence the policy is working.

The strategy also "encourages our allies and friends to actively engage North Korea," Mr. Yang added.

Since Mr. Kim began his overtures, Australia, Brunei, Italy, the Philippines and South Africa have established diplomatic relations with the communist regime.

Britain, Canada, Germany, Spain, the Netherlands and New Zealand have also directly or indirectly expressed intentions to open relations with North Korea, he said.

The United States followed South Korea's lead in October by hosting a visit to Washington by Vice Marshall Jo Myong-rok, North Korea's first deputy chairman of national defense, and sending Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright on a follow-up visit to North Korea.

"We, the South Korean people, want to encourage North Korea to change since it has no better alternative," Mr. Yang said.

"We also believe that building up mutual confidence between both sides is the key to achieving peace and unification."

Albright to Africa

Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright leaves tomorrow for a trip to Africa and Europe, where she will attend a NATO meeting in Belgium.

Mrs. Albright stops first in South Africa on Thursday.

She visits Mauritius on Saturday and Botswana on Tuesday, State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said yesterday.

She will attend the Dec. 14 NATO meeting and may visit other European nations.

"We haven't pinned down the European portion of the trip yet," he said.

Officials not targets

The U.S. ambassador to Colombia and a visiting American senator were not the targets of two land mines discovered near the site of their visit, according to the Colombian Embassy.

The embassy has released a statement by Colombian police, who said Ambassador Anne Patterson and Sen. Paul Wellstone, Minnesota Democrat, were never in danger during their Nov. 30 visit to a mountainous area to observe an anti-drug operation.

The embassy said police arrested a member of the rebel National Liberation Army with "explosive devices" the day before the U.S. officials visited the city of Barrancabermeja.

Police insisted the arrest was unrelated to the visit, contrary to a report by the Associated Press.

Mexican mistake

A man the Mexican Embassy identified as a U.S. federal agent was a Texas government investigator on temporary assignment to a federal drug task force when he killed a Mexican trying to enter the United States illegally.

The Drug Enforcement Administration, reacting to an item in yesterday's Embassy Row, said Wilbur Honeycutt worked for the state's attorney's office in Maverick County.

The Mexican Embassy, in a statement last week, identified him as a DEA agent.

Honeycutt was sentenced to 15 years in prison.

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