N. Korea lead­er­ship change an enigma to the South

Lee holds out hope for re­form

The Washington Times Daily - - Front Page - BY AN­DREW SALMON

SEOUL | South Korea’s pres­i­dent said Wed­nes­day that North Korea’s new lead­er­ship, in­clud­ing young dic­ta­tor Kim Jong-un, may be trapped in the se­cre­tive regime’s old ways, not­ing the North’s an­nounce­ment of plans to launch a satel­lite af­ter hav­ing promised not to con­duct mis­sile tests in ex­change for U. S. food aid.

“Per­haps they feel the need to change and open up, but be­cause of the na­ture of power within North Korea, they may not be able to do so,” Pres­i­dent Lee Myung- bak told a se­lect group of for­eign cor­re­spon­dents at the pres­i­den­tial res­i­dence, the Blue House.

“I am sure there is a lot of de­bate and ar­gu­ment go­ing back and forth within the North Korean lead­er­ship,” Mr. Lee said, adding that his gov­ern­ment lacks hard in­tel­li­gence about the in­ner work­ings of the North’s to­tal­i­tar­ian regime.

In a wide-rang­ing in­ter­view, the con­ser­va­tive pres­i­dent dis­cussed North-south re­la­tions, the in­flu­ence of China and Viet­nam and an up­com­ing global sum­mit on nu­clear se­cu­rity that his coun­try will host.

North Korea an­nounced last week that it will launch a satel­lite in April — a ma­neu­ver that many an­a­lysts con­sider a cover for a mis­sile test. The an­nounce­ment was made just weeks af­ter North Korean diplo­mats se­cured badly needed U.S. food aid in ex­change for a vow not to con­duct mis­sile launches, among other prom­ises.

“How Kim deals with the in­ter­na­tional con­dem­na­tion will be a lit­mus test,” Mr. Lee said, not­ing that a mis­sile launch would be “a clear vi­o­la­tion of U.N. Se­cu­rity Coun­cil res­o­lu­tions.”

Eco­nomic in­flu­ences


Washington Red­skins coach Mike Shana­han (left) and owner Daniel Sny­der meet with Heis­man Tro­phy-win­ning quar­ter­back Robert Grif­fin III at Bay­lor’s pro day work­outs in Waco, Texas. Washington is widely ex­pected to take Grif­fin with the sec­ond over­all pick in April’s NFL Draft. Story, C1.

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