German expert detects no indications of war mentality among N.Koreans
: He believes S.Korea should accept N.Korea’s proposal to send a National Defense Commission review team to reinvestigate Cheonan sinking
June 1, 2010
“Inter-Korean relations have been set back ten years since the Lee Myung-bak administration took office. If the Grand National Party wins in the June 2 local elections, Inter-Korean relations could freeze entirely as the Lee Myung-bak administration’s hardline North Korea policy accelerates.”
These remarks by senior North Korean officials conveyed by German-Korean Parliamentary Friendship Group Deputy Chairman Johannes Pflug on Monday during an interview with the Hankyoreh at the South Korean office of the Friedrich Ebert Foundation in Seoul’s Jongno district following his visit to North Korea from May 24 to 29. Pflug also said, “I did not detect any sense that the people of North Korea were worried a war might break out or were preparing for a war.”
Pflug, Social Democratic Party lawmaker and member of the German Bundestag’s political affairs committee, is an expert on the Korean Peninsula who has visited North Korea seven times and South Korea eight times to date. During his most recent visit, his party met with North Korean officials including Choe Tae-bok, Supreme People’s Assembly chairman, Ri Jong-hyok, vice chairman of the Asia-Pacific Peace Committee and chairman of the DPRK-Germany Friendship Parliamentary Group, Kim Chun-guk, director-general of the European affairs bureau in the North Korean Foreign Ministry, and Ri Jong-chol, deputy head of the International Department of the Workers’ Party of Korea.
Pflug also said, “North Korea and South Korea need to do whatever they can to avoid a war.”
In regards to the South Korean government’s plan to resume loudspeaker broadcasts to North Korea and distribute propaganda leaflets, Pflug said it was a “childish and immature response.”
“If you turn on the loudspeakers, this will just bother the animals living in the forests of the Demilitarized Zone,” he said.
“The situation on the Korean Peninsula in recent years has been heavily influenced by the interests of the U.S. and China,” said Pflug.
“I hope that North Korea and South Korea can find a solution while furthering their own interests, rather than those of the superpowers, just as Germany did in the past.”
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