Letter: Help for both Koreas

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The Independent Online
Sir: Terry McCarthy ('Seoul wary as it prepares for summit with North Korea', 21 June) finds it hard to imagine what Kim Il Sung and Kim Young Sum would find to talk about. Though right to emphasise the gulf that has grown between the two Koreas - a single year's growth in the south now equals the size of the entire shrinking northern economy - he is none the less too pessimistic.

The practical inter-Korean agenda for the mid-1990s is clear. Neither Seoul nor Pyongyang, albeit for quite different reasons, wish to see a collapse of Kim Il Sung's regime. Therefore, it is in both their interests to stave off such a prospect. This can be done by Seoul offering wide-ranging aid and investment, and Pyongyang accepting the offer.

Such a process was beginning in 1992, but the nuclear issue halted it. It remains much the surest way of keeping the peace while defusing tension and promoting change on the peninsula. By contrast, backing Kim Il Sung further into his corner can only increase tension and risk.

Yours sincerely,

AIDAN FOSTER-CARTER

Director

Leeds University Korea Project

Leeds, West Yorkshire

21 June

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