Voice of America 4/28/97

KOREAS/ UNIFICATION

BYLINE=MAX RUSTON
DATELINE=NEW YORK
CONTENT=
 
VOICED AT: 

INTRO:  A FORMER SOUTH KOREAN PRIME 
MINISTER, SPEAKING IN NEW YORK TODAY 
(MONDAY), SAYS SOUTH KOREANS SHOULD 
PREPARE THEMSELVES FOR THE COLLAPSE 
OF THE NORTH KOREAN STATE AND THE 
POSSIBILITY OF EARLY UNIFICATION.  
V-O-A CORRESPONDENT MAX RUSTON 
REPORTS FROM NEW YORK.

TEXT:  SPEAKING AT NEW YORK'S PRIVATELY 
FUNDED KOREA SOCIETY, FORMER SOUTH 
KOREAN PRIME MINISTER LEE HONG-KOO 
CALLED FOR IMAGINATION AND CREATIVITY
 IN DETERMINING HOW TO DEAL WITH WITH 
THE POSSIBLE COLLAPSE OF NORTH KOREA.  
HE SAID NORTH KOREA'S MILITARY REMAINS 
STRONG, BUT WILL BE UNABLE TO MAINTAIN 
STABILITY AMID WHAT HE DESCRIBED AS 
RAPIDLY DETERIORATING ECONOMIC AND 
POLITICAL CONDITIONS.

       /// LEE ACT ///

WE NEED TO FACE THE FACT THAT 
UNIFICATION COULD POSSIBLY  BE 
IMMINENT AND OUR PEOPLE NEED 
TO VIEW THIS FACT AS AN OPPORTUNITY 
RATHER THAN WITH FEAR OF 
UNCERTAINTY OR AS A POTENTIAL 
BURDEN TO OUR RELATIVELY 
COMFORTABLE LIVES.

       /// END ACT ///

MR. LEE WAS PRIME MINISTER UNDER 
SOUTH KOREA'S CURRENT PRESIDENT,
KIM YOUNG-SAM.  HE IS A MEMBER OF 
THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY AND HAS 
ANNOUNCED HIS INTENTION TO RUN 
FOR PRESIDENT IN ELECTIONS LATER 
THIS YEAR.

MR. LEE'S REMARKS COME AMID 
INCREASING INTERNATIONAL CONCERN 
ABOUT STABILITY IN NORTH KOREA 
AND SECURITY IN NORTHEAST ASIA.  
NORTH KOREA IS SUFFERING A SEVERE 
FOOD SHORTAGE AND COULD FACE 
FAMINE WITHIN A FEW MONTHS.  ITS 
ECONOMY IS DETERIORATING AND 
DIPLOMATS SAYS ITS LEADER, KIM 
JONG-IL, IS LOSING THE CONFIDENCE 
OF THE COUNTRY'S SENIOR OFFICIALS.

MR. LEE SAID IT IS IMPORTANT THAT 
SOUTH KOREA STRENGTHEN ITS 
MILITARY AND AT THE SAME TIME 
DO EVERYTHING IT CAN TO AVOID 
CONFLICT.  HE SAID FLEXIBLE AND 
CREATIVE POLICIES NEED TO BE 
DEVELOPED TO PREPARE FOR 
CHANGE IN NORTH KOREA, WHICH
HE DESCRIBED AS IMMINENT.

  /// REST OPTIONAL ///

SPEAKING ABOUT THE DOMESTIC 
SITUATION IN SOUTH KOREA, MR. LEE 
SAID THE COUNTRY IS FACING WHAT 
HE CALLED A CRISIS IN ITS ABILITY
TO ADVANCE.  HE SAID THE SINGLE 
BIGGEST OBSTACLE TO PROGRESS FOR 
SOUTH KOREA IS RIGIDITY, OR 
INFLEXIBILITY.  HE SAID RIGIDITY IS 
STIFLING PROGRESS IN GOVERNMENT, 
EDUCATION AND BUSINESS AND IS 
KEEPING SOUTH KOREA IN A STATE 
OF STAGNATION.  TO FIGHT RIGIDITY,
HE SAID, GOVERNMENT REGULATIONS
SHOULD BE MINIMIZED, THE 
INDEPENDENCE OF THE JUDICIARY 
SHOULD BE STRENGTHENED AND 
POLITICAL PARTIES SHOULD BE MORE 
DEMOCRATIC AND OPEN TO DIVERSE 
INTERESTS AND OPINIONS.  (SIGNED)
 
NEB/NY/MPR/LSF/LWM

28-Apr-97 4:57 PM EDT (2057 UTC)
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