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USA/South Korea/Japan Tri-Nation Pact Brokered

By Selwyn Manning

A strengthened tri-nation agreement on North Korea is being brokered today by the USA, Japan and South Korea.

US President Bill Clinton said this morning that he would discuss peace and reconciliation in the Korean Peninsula.

North Korea’s weapons programme threatened the world, Clinton said at the CEO breakfast meeting this morning at the Americas Cup Village in Auckland.

"I will meet here with President Kim and Prime Minister Obuchi to discuss peace and reconciliation in the Korean Peninsula," President Clinton said.

"The people of North Korea need food and opportunities, they need engagement with the South and the chance of a brighter future. They do not need new weapons that threaten the security of the region and the world."

The tri-nation meeting reflects fears in north Asia of the unpredictability of North Korea’s ballistic missile programme.

North Korea plans to begin long range missile tests

Korea, on August 31 last year, test-fired a medium-range Taepodong I ballistic missile which flew over Japan. The North Koreans said the missile was a falling satellite.

United States intelligence is reported to believe North Korea plans to test a longer-range Taepodong II missile capable of reaching Alaska. Korea has indicated it is willing to talk with the United States over the issue.

So, President Clinton’s focuss on the people of North Korea facing starvation is a humanitarian approach to win favour with Japan and South Korea. This will be the key to broker a favourable foreign policy outcome in north Asia.

The United States has 47,000 troops in Japan and 37,000 troops in South Korea, the countries are key US allies in Asia.

North and South Korea have never formally ended the 1950-53 Korean War.

Japan’s diplomacy with North Korea has been more cautious than the clashing approach employed by South Korea. Japan has told North Korea it will severe funds for the contruction of a “safe” nuclear reactors, should North Korea continue to test missiles.

Preliminary meetings were held between US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and South Korean Foreign Minister Hong Soon-Yung to reassure each other that the alliance and co-operation on nuclear issues was as strong as ever.

Albright later met with Japanese Foreign Minister Masahiko Komura to prepare for the Japanese and United States bilateral leader’s meetings in Auckland today.

Scoop will keep you informed.

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