Kim: Change U.S. Korea Policy

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WASHINGTON: Four decades after the Korean War, the U.S. has been asked to relax the pressure on the communist North -- and it's the South that's doing the asking. South Korea's President Kim Dae Jung met with President Clinton today, and urged the U.S. to ease sanctions against North Korea and engage in dialogue. Kim believes normalizing relations with Pyongyang is the only way to ease tensions with its neighbor and encourage moderation in Pyongyang.

How will this unprecedented call by a South Korean leader wash with the White House? President Clinton expressed support Kim's efforts at reconciliation with the North. "The U.S. is essentially receptive to the idea of engaging with North Korea, but Washington is unlikely to eliminate sanctions altogether or immediately," says TIME State Department correspondent Dean Fischer. "There would be a lot of opposition in Congress, and the North Koreans are not exactly behaving in a positive manner." Still, in the long term it may be difficult to argue against the very people U.S. policy is intended to protect.