On March 19, the RF Federation Council received a North Korean parliamentary delegation with chairman of the Supreme People’s Assembly of North Korea Choe Tae-bok at its head. Today’s international situation regarding North Korea, mentioned as a part of “the axis of evil” by George W.Bush, became the key topic of the discussion between the Russian and Korean parliamentarians.
North Korea is in need of reliable allies now, despite Pyongyang’s statements about its readiness “to repulse the aggression of the USA” (Choe Tae-bok said in an interview with Izvestia that “the Korean people will persistently defend their dignity and the USA will be repulsed”). China and Russia fir the role of Korea’s allies quite well. Both countries are more concerned about the human rights situation in Korea than the USA and Western Europe. On the other hand, it is of no use to demand the observation of human rights from Pyongyang, especially under the present-day condition, when Korea is under a state of siege.
Concerning the unity of the Korean people, the other day, a group of Koreans entered the Spanish Embassy in China and asked for political asylum. As a result, the defectors were sent to South Korea, and China warned South Korea that the relationship between the two countries will be spoiled if more people penetrate the country from the North. Nevertheless, as long as the life of ordinary people is ignored in North Korea, the people will try to escape, and life promises to be even worse after the statements of the US president. The scarce resources of the country will be spent on the the strengthening of North Korea's defenses first of all.
The parliamentary talks between North Korea and Russia also dealt with economic cooperation between the two countries. The countries cooperate now in two spheres only: these are North Korea’s participation in the timber industry on Russia’s territory and the construction of the railway that is to join the two Koreas. The prospect of Russia’s cooperation in the projects is rather vague. It is not Russia that controls the situation in the timber industry enterprises where North Koreans work, and the date for launching the railway’s construction has not been fixed yet. Alas, Russia’s profits from such economic cooperation with North Korea are ephemeral. However, they stimulate the development of political contacts with Pyongyang. If the wish of the North Korean leadership for self-isolation is taken into consideration, the fact mentioned above is even more significant. Only the gradual involvement of North Korea in international politics may help to improve the Korean Peninsula’s political situation and prevent the conflict between North Korea and the USA from escalating.
Vasily Bubnov PRAVDA.Ru
Translated by Maria Gousseva
Read the original in Russian: http://www.pravda.ru/main/2002/03/20/38507.html