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Japanesse editorial excerpts+.

TOKYO, June 9 Kyodo

Selected editorial excerpts from the Japanese press:

N. KOREA MUST ADOPT FLEXIBLE STANCE (Daily Yomiuri as translated from the Japanese-language Yomiuri Shimbun)

During separate talks Thursday, the Japanese, U.S. and South Korean leaders reiterated their determination to cooperate closely in dealing with issues concerning the Korean Peninsula ahead of a historical inter-Korea summit set to begin Monday.

The separate meetings between Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori, U.S. President Bill Clinton and South Korean President Kim Dae Jung were more than a mere diplomatic formality. The talks added real substance to three-way efforts to address issues relating to the Korean Peninsula.

In the talks with Clinton and Mori, the South Korean president revealed his intention to emphasize, during the upcoming meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, the importance of "good relations" between the three countries and the communist regime in addressing issues related to that nation's economy and regional peace and stability.

Kim also pledged to convey to North Korea Japan's eagerness to improve relations with the communist country. His remark may be interpreted as a clear intention to urge North Korea to work steadily toward improved ties with Japan, the United States and South Korea, while also refraining from attempting to shake or divide the three-nation alliance.

The immediate goal to be pursued by North Korea in the upcoming summit is probably to gain economic and other assistance from the South so it can turn its seriously troubled economy around.

However, Japan and the U.S. will find it less meaningful to use their readiness to extend economic aid to the North as a major bargaining chip during talks on Pyongyang's nuclear and missile programs and the abduction dispute if South Korea has chosen to provide the North with far more aid than Tokyo and Washington expect Seoul to give.

It is questionable whether South Korea will be able to extend sufficient aid to the North without the cooperation of Japan and the U.S. In this sense, North Korea should realize that the circumstances will not be conducive to obtaining assistance from the three countries unless it improves relations with Japan and the U.S.

All this means that North Korea should abandon its uncompromising attitude toward the abduction and other thorny issues and make headway in its diplomatic normalization negotiations with Japan.

(June 9)
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Publication:Japan Weekly Monitor
Date:Jun 12, 2000
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