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Letters: Reaching out to North Korea

October 26, 2013

Re "Engaging N. Korea," Opinion, Oct. 21

Since 2009, during each of my three visits as a guest of the North Korean government, I have seen firsthand the value of the kind of low-key, people-to-people exchanges that British Ambassador to North Korea Mike Gifford is promoting with that country.

In 2012 I was allowed to bring with me an American delegation of magicians to Pyongyang. The next step is bringing some of their magicians to the United States. North Korea's leadership has approved the plan, and now I must get the support of the State Department.

My North Korean friends and I will continue to work toward that end during my upcoming trip to Beijing and again to Pyongyang early next year.

Dale F. Salwak


It is good that the British and others help the people of North Korea, which their own government uncaringly does not. To believe the present regime (and probably any North Korean regime) will ever care at all about its own people or anyone else is pure folly.

The North Korean leadership will politely listen, take from others and continue its own agenda.

Eddie Tolmas

Porter Ranch

Gifford's report about his approach to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea illustrates why the plan isn't working. Nor has it, for more than 50 years. His litany of unimaginative nostrums, and those of my government, don't impress me.

"Engage positively with the outside world"? Though lacking the ability to accommodate large numbers of tourists, thousands visit there every year, including Americans. North Korea sent a team that won six medals to the London Olympics.

Citizen abuse? The democratic nation of India, though it's not government policy, has among the largest number of child slaves in the world.

And it continues to baffle me how one nation with so few nuclear arms is seen as a threat by those with several hundred.

F. Daniel Gray

Los Angeles


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