05/12/2006, 00.00
SOUTH KOREA – NORTH KOREA – UNITED STATES

Seoul ready to go it alone on North Korea

In a meeting with his country's senior security officials, South Korean President Roh said that decisions about the North are too important for us to let Washington take them.

Seoul (AsiaNews/Agencies) – The South Korean government seems bent on following a separate policy from that of the United States in order to get North Korea back to the six-party talks on its nuclear programme. Some analysts fear though that such a move from Seoul might strain relations between the two allies.

Anonymous sources said President Roh Moo-hyun told senior officials in security departments that Seoul will exercise greater leadership in "breaking the deadlock in the six-party talks".

"The idea is that since the six-party talks play a very important role in determining the fate of the Korean Peninsula, we can't just leave such critical decisions in the hands of the US," Roh is quoted as saying. At the same time, a senior government official said that Roh is prepared to meet North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il "anytime and anywhere" and "make many concessions."

The Foreign Ministry's special envoy on international security, Moon Chung-in, said the president's remarks "show that Roh is losing patience with U.S. President George W. Bush."

Roh has shown that he is prepared to back his words with deeds. On Wednesday, on the eve of former South Korean President Kim Dae-jung's visit to North Korea, the current president said that Seoul was "ready to provide every kind of humanitarian aid without conditions to our northern brethren." In addition to food, help includes health care products and education material.

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