- The Washington Times - Saturday, January 25, 2003

SEOUL South Korea pushed ahead yesterday with efforts to resolve the nuclear standoff with North Korea peacefully, saying it will send two envoys to the communist state next week for a new round of negotiations.
South Korea kept up the diplomatic pressure on its northern advisory even though it couldn't persuade North Korean delegates at talks earlier yesterday to commit to specific steps to ease the nuclear tensions with the United States.
South Korea urged direct dialogue to bridge the differences between Washington and Pyongyang, and the South's president-elect said he would propose a summit with reclusive Northern leader Kim Jong-il after taking office next month.
The United Nations nuclear agency, meanwhile, announced it will hold an emergency meeting to consider putting the dispute before the Security Council, spokesman Mark Gwozdecky said yesterday.
The International Atomic Energy Agency's 35-nation governing board will meet Feb. 3 to discuss the issue. Formally notifying the Security Council that North Korea is in breach of its obligations under international nuclear accords could lead to economic sanctions or other punitive measures against Pyongyang.
In a meeting with Japanese Foreign Minister Yoriko Kawaguchi in Tokyo, Undersecretary of State John Bolton said, however, that a debate in the U.N. Security Council on North Korea does not mean sanctions will be imposed.
"The question of getting the matter into the Security Council is an entirely separate and very different question from whether or not sanctions at some point might be warranted," he said at a news conference.
North Korea has said sanctions would be tantamount to war.
Park Sun-sook, a spokeswoman for South Korea's presidential Blue House, said envoys from the South were being sent to the North to "find a peaceful resolution through direct dialogue between the South and the North."
North Korea announced the envoys' visit at the same time in a brief report carried by state-run news agency KCNA. The South is sending Lim Dong-won, a special adviser to President Kim Dae-jung and a former unification minister, and an envoy of President-elect Roh Moo-hyun.
South Korea had consulted with allies about sending the envoys, Miss Park said. The two officials, who are expected to carry a letter from President Kim, will arrive in North Korea on Monday and stay two or three days.
The South is working to persuade the North to give up its nuclear-development program. Pyongyang has expelled U.N. nuclear inspectors and pulled out of a nuclear-weapons treaty.
In an interview with CNN, Mr. Roh said he would propose a summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-il after taking office Feb. 25. Mr. Roh is a strong supporter of the reconciliation process between North and South.

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