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A Talk with America's Man in Seoul

On perceived differences in the U.S. and South Korean approach to North Korea:

There's a sense that the average Korean is maybe less concerned about North Korean nuclear weapons than we think they ought to be. I think we see some of the answers by looking at what we see around us in Seoul. This is a very active, vibrant city. The Korean economy is very successful. Democracy is thriving. The last thing most Koreans want to think about is threats and wars. The younger generation has no direct memory of the Korean War.

I'm not altogether surprised that many Koreans perhaps don't want to think much about North Korean nuclear weapons. I know the current government is very concerned about North Korean nuclear weapons, and I'm confident, based on what they have said publicly and privately, that the incoming government is very concerned also.

It's more a matter of emphasis than either side ignoring the other. We have strongly supported Kim Dae Jung's efforts to engage North Korea and expect to continue to support the incoming government's approach to engage North Korea. We think that's a good thing for the long term.

The South Koreans have joined us in international organizations like the IAEA [International Atomic Energy Agency]. We agree that the issue should go to the U.N. Security Council very soon. We both agree the nuclear problem is a threat

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