- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 18, 2002

Peace policy defended

South Korean Ambassador Sung Chul Yang is defending his country from criticism against its peace diplomacy toward North Korea.

Opponents complain that the democratic South is making all of the concessions to the communist North, and that the "Sunshine Policy" amounts to appeasement.

Mr. Yang rejected the criticisms in a recent speech at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

"If we consider South Korea's aid to North Korea as a peace expense or a unification cost, it is a prudent and even wise investment," he said.

"Furthermore, it is thanks to the Sunshine Policy that the tension level on the Korean peninsula is now at an all time low."

Mr. Yang said South Korea's economy "has recovered quickly from its worst financial crisis since the Korean war."

The ambassador also cited the "urgent human needs in North Korea," where as many as 7 million people, about one-third of the population, "are either starving or malnourished."

"How can we turn our backs on this desperate humanitarian emergency?" he asked.

Mr. Yang rejected the accusation that South Korea is appeasing the North as a "false and groundless" charge. He said appeasement reminds him of the policy of Neville Chamberlain, the British prime minister who allowed Hitler to take Czechoslovakia.

"But not a single inch of land in South Korea has been given over to the North under the Sunshine Policy," he said.

"Perhaps I sound overly defensive of the Sunshine Policy and self-righteous in my rebuttal of its criticisms," he told his audience. "It is, of course, for you to assess and ultimately for history to judge."

Mr. Yang also noted that South Korea's population is becoming dominated by citizens in their 40s, who were born after the Korean War.

"They are young, assertive, relatively affluent, information-technology friendly and predominately urban," he said.

South Korea is becoming an "entrenched" democracy with a "full-fledge free-market economy."


New Swedish Embassy

Sweden will soon relocate from its top-floor roost in a downtown office building to a new embassy on the Georgetown waterfront.

"I am proud and happy that the Embassy of Sweden will get such a visible profile at a prominent location in Washington," Swedish Ambassador Jan Eliasson said in announcing the plans.

The embassy will be located in the Washington Harbor complex near 30th Street NW, and Sweden's National Property Board will organize an architectural competition.

"The embassies in Tokyo and Berlin, with their unique Swedish design, have drawn global attention to Swedish architecture," the ambassador said. "The ambition of the Swedish National Property Board is to create another cultural showcase in one of the most important cities in the world."


Consulate to reopen

The U.S. Consulate in Karachi, Pakistan, is expected to resume full operations today, after its closure Friday after a car bomb explosion killed 12 persons.

"The consulate was partially reopened [yesterday], but the normal activities will resume [today], when all Pakistani and American staff will resume their duties," a consulate official told the Agence France-Presse news service.

A group called Al-Qanoon, or the Law, claimed responsibility for the explosion that blew a 13-foot hole in a barrier surrounding the consulate. All of those killed were Pakistanis. A U.S. Marine and five Pakistani employees of the consulate were injured by flying debris.


Next year, Jerusalem?

President Bush yesterday announced another six-month delay on a decision to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.

Mr. Bush cited "national security interests" as his reason for keeping the embassy in Tel Aviv. In 1995, Congress authorized relocating the embassy to Jerusalem but allowed the president to delay the move every six months after a review of the security situation in Israel. The administration remains committed to beginning the process of moving our embassy to Jerusalem," Mr. Bush said in a memo to Secretary of State Colin L. Powell.

President Clinton also repeatedly delayed the relocation for security reasons.


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