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German lawmaker shares latest on N. Korea Updated: 2014-11-03 21:58:39 KST

"When you talked to North Korean officials during your stay there, what did they say about inter-Korean relations?"

"Many of the North Korean officials I spoke with were very clear. North Korea hopes to improve relations with South Korea.
The attendance of three high-level officials at the closing ceremony of the Asian Games shows this very well. They said rebuilding trust is the most important step for improving South-North relations. As the basis for trust-building, they referred to former South Korean President Kim Dae-jung's visit to North Korea in 2000 and the June 15th joint statement that followed."

"There are speculations about regime instability in North Korea. What was your impression?"

"Of course, Kim Jong-un's power cannot be compared to that of his father Kim Jong-il in his prime, but he has enough leverage to control the current situation. The power is not held solely by him, though. It is divided among other agents, such as the party, the military, or the economic bodies. But Kim is able to maintain a balance among them. However, I do see a need for a policy to promote overall stability."

"Before your visit to Pyongyang, you also visited China and you met with officials there. Did you have any talks about North Korea with them?"

"There are tensions between North Korea and China. China wants North Korea to return to the six-party framework and to pursue more reform measures on its own. But at the same time, its biggest interest is securing stability in North Korea and on the Korean Peninsula. Therefore, Beijing is not opposed to Pyongyang's relations with Europe and Berlin. And China believes its friendship with South Korea is helpful in maintaining stability on the Korean Peninsula and Northeast Asia."

"You've been a longtime advocate for the unification of the two Koreas. In your view, what's the biggest hurdle to the Korean unification and how do we make that leap?"

"The challenge can be largely divided into two. First is solving the dire humanitarian situation in North Korea. The second -- and the most important and difficult task -- is North Korea's nuclear program. The neighboring countries must also be considered. A fundamental step is resolving tensions between the two Koreas, but at the same time, seeking understanding from the United States, China and Japan remains a challenge."

"And where does Germany come in?"

"Germany will not be a mediator. It will also not be a master that can offer a great deal of knowledge. But what we can do is to give little bits of advice based on our own experience with unification."

"Thank you, Mr. Koschyk, for your time today."
KOGL : Korea Open Government License
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