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Marcos Passport Squabble Greets Shultz in Manila

May 09, 1986|MARK FINEMAN and DOYLE McMANUS | Times Staff Writers

During his brief visit, Shultz will also meet with several Cabinet members, Roman Catholic Church leaders and officials from Marcos' former government who now constitute the political opposition. He will also meet with Defense Minister Enrile and military chief of staff Fidel V. Ramos, who together led the coup that forced Marcos into exile.

Shultz told Laurel and other officials at Thursday's dinner that the United States will move ahead with its aid plans but warned that additional assistance is unlikely, aides said.

Speaking to reporters aboard his plane en route from Seoul, Shultz said additional aid is probably impossible because of Congress' cuts in the foreign aid budget, which he called "not in the interest of the United States."

Shultz flew to Manila from the South Korean capital, where he praised the pro-American government of President Chun Doo Hwan for its strong military posture against Communist North Korea, its successful economic policies and its gradual steps toward democracy.

Chun, who took power in the military coup, has promised to step down in 1988 and allow presidential elections.

"The institutions of democracy are taking shape," Shultz said at a press conference in Seoul. "Most of the campuses are quiet."

He spoke after a long lunch with Chun.

Before meeting with Chun, Shultz had breakfast Thursday with a mixed group of pro-government and opposition politicians.

Shultz said the main opposition figure with whom he spoke, Lee Min Woo, told him that a successful transition to democracy could only be achieved if Chun agrees to direct presidential elections in 1988. The current constitution calls for the president to be chosen by a 5,000-member electoral college, which the opposition charges would be open to government manipulation.

Many Indirect Elections

Shultz dismissed the dissidents' concern. "It is not particularly typical around the world that leaders of democratic countries are put there by direct elections," he said. "They aren't. The President of the United States isn't; the prime minister of Great Britain isn't."

Asked whether the opposition leaders seemed satisfied with the pace of political change, Shultz said, "Everybody felt that good progress was being made."

Shultz said after his conversations with Chun that he expects to see a relaxation of press censorship in South Korea. "If you're going to have a valid election campaign, the candidates have to be able to get their views around," he said.

But he appeared more concerned over the prospect of instability than over the remaining restrictions on civil liberties.

"No one said the situation in human rights is perfect--not here, not in the United States, not anywhere," he said.

Shultz said he sees no parallel between the situation in South Korea and the unrest in the Philippines before the fall of Marcos. "I can't imagine two countries more different," he said.

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