Can Rice (and music) restart North Korea nuclear deal?
U.S. Secretary of State Rice visits Asia to boost the six-party deal, N.Y. Philharmonic plays in Pyongyang.
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Lee – the former mayor of Seoul and, 30 years ago, chairman of Hyundai Engineering and Construction Co., then Korea's biggest builder – sees North Korea as falling within the embrace of his "economy first" policy. North Korea, he believes, could grow economically with an "open-door" policy in which foreign enterprise were welcomed.Skip to next paragraph
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Mr. Lee's desire to implement his own view on North Korea helps explain why Rice has said it would not be "useful at this time" for her to make a dramatic flight to Pyongyang after the inauguration.
Many experts believe she would accomplish little of substance in talks there, anyway. "I don't think we have any reason to believe their attitude has changed," says Kathryn Weathersby, visiting scholar at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. "Economic aid is not sufficient as a guarantee of goodwill."
Music may not help
Most analysts aren't optimistic about North Korea's increasing its cooperation as a result of the goodwill engendered by the performance of the Philharmonic, which began its tour in China and is to appear in Seoul after Pyongyang.
Yet even without Rice in North Korea, the occasion is certain to generate a chorus of diplomatic chatter. Many hope it will move the US closer to removing North Korea from the State Department's list of nations sponsoring terrorism.
Donald Gregg, former US ambassador to South Korea and chairman of the Korea Society, an influential organization that functions with South Korean government support, is among the guests.
The list also includes Evans Revere, formerly second-ranking US diplomat in Seoul, who succeeded Mr. Gregg as president of the Korea Society; and William Perry, who was secretary of defense under President Clinton.
Yet another guest will be the chair of the Hyundai Group, Hyun Jeong-eun, widow of Chung Mong-hun, who led the group until his suicide in 2003 amid revelations of his role in passing about $500 million to North Korea to bring about the North-South summit of June 2000.
Ms. Hyun's presence underlines the economic aspect of North-South reconciliation. "I am moved to go to Pyongyang and see the New York Philharmonic perform," she says.
"I hope that in the future relations between the two Koreas will create harmony that is like the beautiful harmony that is characteristic of the world-famous New York Philharmonic," she adds.