- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Korea checking in

A bipartisan South Korean parliamentary delegation urged the Bush administration to maintain multilateral talks with North Korea to reduce the nuclear threat posed by the communist government.

The delegation, led by Chung Eui-yong of the ruling Uri Party and Park Jin of the opposition Grand National Party, met with administration officials, members of Congress and think tank analysts to find out what to expect in the next Bush administration.

“The second Bush administration will be launched soon, and we wanted to meet with these leaders in government, to have a dialogue on the current status of our relationship and [discuss] how to promote and develop a new relationship,” Mr. Park told editors and reporters at The Washington Times last week.

Mr. Chung added that their fact-finding mission was concerned with Washington’s direction toward North Korea after the election, our correspondent Sharon Behn reports.

“There are some concerns in Korea about the possibility that Mr. Bush’s second term may take a tougher attitude toward North Korea,” Mr. Chung said.

“I think it is possible that the Bush team will review foreign policy, and the North Korea issue may be included in the review. We hope if that is the case that the outcome will be in line with what we have in mind,” he said.

Mr. Chung said he thinks the administration will continue with six-party talks to resolve the nuclear impasse with North Korea. In addition to the United States and the two Koreas, the talks include Russia, China and Japan.

Mr. Park said a resolution through six-way talks would provide a more lasting structure than mere U.S.-North Korean talks, which have been rejected by the Bush administration.

Mr. Park recommended a carrot-and-stick approach to North Korea, but Mr. Chung emphasized the need for dialogue and diplomacy.

“We think we have to be rather careful at this stage of negotiation,” Mr. Chung said. But, he added: “We know we cannot delay forever. Time is running out. This is a very urgent issue.”

Supporting Uganda

The House is showing support for the democratic government in Uganda by organizing a congressional caucus to help the East African nation deal with AIDS, terrorism and other issues.

The Congressional Caucus on Uganda, the third such caucus that focuses on Africa, is led by Rep. Christopher H. Smith, New Jersey Republican and vice chairman of the House International Relations Committee, and Rep. Edolphus Towns, New York Democrat and member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

In a letter to Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, they wrote: “The purposes of the caucus include improving relations and communications between the United States and Uganda … and recognizing the common concerns of our two countries, including our mutual efforts to combat terrorism in Africa and … fight against the spread of HIV/AIDS.”

In Uganda, Amama Mbabazi, the defense minister and attorney general, welcomed the creation of the panel.

“This caucus will effectively assist these efforts,” he said, referring to the fight against terrorism, AIDS and poverty.

Uganda suffered one of the severest outbreaks of AIDS in the 1990s but since has combated the spread of the deadly disease with an aggressive educational campaign.

The United Nations says AIDS has killed more than 940,000 people in Uganda. A recent study in the journal Science shows that new cases have dropped by 70 percent.

Uganda also is combating an uprising in the north by the Lord’s Resistance Army, which the State Department described as a “bizarre and cult-like” rebel group that specializes in killings and kidnappings.

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

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