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Shultz Lauds S. Korea Regime, Refuses to Meet Leading Critics : Calls Economy 'Breathtaking,' Skirts Libya Issue

May 07, 1986|From Times Wire Services

SEOUL — The two most prominent critics of the South Korean government were excluded from a meeting with Secretary of State George P. Shultz, who came here today with a ringing endorsement of President Chun Doo Hwan and criticism of "violent confrontations" with the government.

Kim Dae Jung, the opposition candidate in the last free and open election, in 1971, and Kim Young Sam, the permanent adviser to the opposition New Korea Democratic party, were not invited to a breakfast with Shultz.

"The Kims are not leaders of their party," Shultz said on the way here from Tokyo, where he attended the seven-nation summit of industrial democracies. However, Shultz said, they were invited to meet with Assistant Secretary of State Gaston Sigur but declined.

"I have a limited amount of time," Shultz said, explaining his refusal to meet with the two critics. He said the purpose of the breakfast was to meet with government and opposition leaders with "diversity."

Variety of Opinions

Shultz said other opposition leaders, as well as supporters of President Chun, will meet with him as he attempts to solicit a variety of opinions on the political situation in South Korea.

Lee Min Woo, president of the New Korea Democrats, and Kim Dong Yong, the minority floor leader, were among those invited.

Shultz arrived at 3:30 p.m. (11:30 p.m. Tuesday PDT) and met shortly after his arrival with Foreign Minister Lee Won Kyung.

During their meeting, Lee and Shultz discussed planning for the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, a senior U.S. official said. The official said "things look pretty good right now" for Chinese and Soviet participation in the games.

Avoids Libya Issues

Shultz did not bring up South Korea's 20,000 employees in Libya nor the government's purchase of Libyan oil, but the official said the subjects might come up in talks with Lee or Chun on Thursday.

In an airborne news conference, Shultz said that South Korea's economic prosperity was "breathtaking" and that the government was doing a "terrific job" in maintaining security along the border with Communist North Korea despite tensions along the demilitarized zone.

Against this backdrop, Shultz said, Chun "has set out the objective of moving toward a democratic form of government."

Shultz cited Chun's decision to step down, the scheduling of elections for 1988 and freedom of assembly.

"All this is part of a process of motion in institutions, which we think is very desirable," Shultz said.

'Element of Stability'

However, he said, the evolution requires "an element of stability" and "the violent confrontations such as we've seen is not a contribution to that."

He said the United States stands for an evolution with peaceful change. In South Korea, Shultz said, "I think it's moving pretty fast. It takes a little time to build a tradition. I didn't say the situation is perfect. I said it was moving impressively."

After his Thursday meeting, the secretary will fly to Manila for a meeting with Philippine President Corazon Aquino.

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