- The Washington Times - Sunday, June 29, 2003

New home for Hungary

For 30 years, the Hungarian ambassador’s residence was part of a sterile diplomatic compound isolated way off Embassy Row near Rock Creek Park. The residence, connected to the Hungarian Embassy, had all the charm of Stalinist blockhouse architecture.

“It was mainly intended to keep Americans out,” Ambassador Andras Simonyi said in an interview.

Last week, the embassy bought a place off leafy Massachusetts Avenue NW, setting the residence among other diplomatic missions and symbolically reflecting Hungary’s embrace of democracy.

“This residence is intended to invite Americans in,” Mr. Simonyi said.

The new home, near the intersection of Massachusetts Avenue and 30th Street NW, is located a block away from the Romanian ambassador’s residence. Other neighbors include Vice President Dick Cheney and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, New York Democrat.

The home is 70 years old and was built in the classical revival style of the 1930s.

“It is an important part of our presence in Washington,” Mr. Simonyi said. “We have just done justice to our presence here.”

The residence is being redecorated by Hungarian-born Washington interior designer Aniko Gaal Schott and will feature the work of contemporary Hungarian artists.

Dangerous game

The U.S. ambassador to Japan is demanding that North Korea abandon its nuclear program before the patience of the world runs out.

Ambassador Howard H. Baker Jr. told the communist regime: “Give up your nuclear ambition. Subject yourself to international inspection. Rejoin the international institutions that safeguard nuclear matters. Do these things.”

Mr. Baker told the Research Institute of Japan last week that North Korea is playing a dangerous game with the rest of the world.

“I fear that the threat from North Korea is grave, indeed,” he said. “The threat to world peace is great. The threat to Japan is more immediate, but the threat of a nuclear-armed North Korean state is something that concerns the entire world.”

Mr. Baker added, “I wonder sometimes about the Korean Peninsula, about whether or not [the North Korean] government — their country, their leadership — understands what a dangerous game they are playing.

“There are few things in life these days that are more threatening than the possibility of an irresponsible national presence armed with nuclear weapons. …

“So I wonder if they, if the North Korean government, understands what a deadly serious game they are playing as they engage in what I term serial provocations calculated to inflame world opinion, to challenge the United States, Japan, South Korea and, indeed, the entire community of civilized nations in the world to do anything about their aggressive development of nuclear weapons.”

Mr. Baker warned North Korea that the United States would not rule out a nuclear response against nuclear aggression.

“We are committed … to a peaceful solution to the challenge of North Korea,” he said. “But as our president has said, and I think properly so, … no option is off the table.

“So I wonder how far North Korea will push the patience of the world community.”

Mr. Baker said the North Korean people suffer under repression by their government.

“My sympathy goes out to the people of North Korea,” he said. “My heart is troubled by the oppression of the North Korean government.”

Diplomatic traffic

In Washington this week:

Tomorrow

• Miguel Szekely, Mexico’s undersecretary for social development, who holds a noon press conference at the Mexican Embassy to discuss moves by his government on human development and in the fight against poverty.

Call Embassy Row at 202/636-3297, fax 202/832-7278 or e-mail jmorrison@washingtontimes.com.

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