Kim Il Sung spells out terms for nuclear peace

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The Independent Online
PRESIDENT Kim Il Sung of North Korea is prepared to freeze his country's nuclear programme in return for US diplomatic recognition and other concessions, according to an American scholar who met him for three hours last Thursday.

Selig Harrison, an Asian affairs specialist, said in Peking yesterday that Mr Kim wanted the US and other countries to guarantee that they would supply North Korea with a light water reactor if Pyongyang suspends what is widely viewed as an attempt to develop nuclear weapons. Mr Kim disclosed his terms as the US and South Korea prepared to impose sanctions on North Korea for not allowing international inspection of its nuclear facilities.

North Korea, which says it will view sanctions as an act of war, threatened South Korea last week with devastation and warned that Japan would face 'deserving punishment' if it joined an embargo. The crisis impelled President Bill Clinton to devote four hours of meetings at the White House on Friday to the sanctions question.

Mr Harrison, who met Mr Kim, 82, at a residence outside Pyongyang, described the dictator as an alert man who did not seem bent on nuclear confrontation. 'I found him very sharp, very alert. We talked for two hours and he was absolutely forceful, and alert, and quick and sharp. After the two hours, at lunch, he was a little - like anyone at 82 - slower, and he wasn't talking as much. But he's walking well and seems fine.'

He described Mr Kim's parting words: 'He chain-smokes, and he shook his cigarette at me and threw down his matches, and said: 'The point is, we (the US and North Korea) must be on good terms with each other, and then we will both know everything about each other. And we mustn't put preconditions. How can you expect (us) to let a country with which we are still at war know everything about our country?'

Mr Harrison said North Korea would not build nuclear weapons if the US gave it diplomatic recognition and lifted the economic embargo in place since the 1950-53 war. North Korea also wants a US guarantee not to use nuclear weapons first on the Korean peninsula.

(Photograph omitted)