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Kim Jong-il to make ground-breaking Indonesia trip JAKARTA - North Korean leader Kim Jong-il will visit Indonesia in the near future after accepting an invitation from a special envoy for the Indonesian president, Hong Kong’s Yazhou Zhoukan reported Friday. Pyongyang has also asked Jakarta to act as a mediator in six-nation talks aimed at dismantling the North’s nuclear program. Presidential envoy Nana Sutresna, who visited both Pyongyang and Seoul recently, invited Kim to visit Indonesia “at an appropriate time,” and Indonesian officials said Kim was “willing to accept” the invitation, the weekly reported.

Kim’s visit to Indonesia would be his first to any country other than China and Russia since he took power in 1994. While Kim likes to travel to those two countries by special armored train, he will have to fly to the Southeast Asian nation. The weekly said no date has been revealed for a visit. It said the planned trip “reflects Kim’s willingness to break the impasse of long isolation in the global diplomatic arena with the help of Indonesia, one of a handful of nations in diplomatic relations with the country and a leading force in the Nonaligned Movement.” Kim has been to Indonesia before, accompanying his father, former leader Kim Il-sung, in 1965.

Pyongyang reportedly asked the special envoy to deliver a message to Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono expressing hope that Jakarta will serve as a mediator in the six-party talks. Meanwhile, President Yudhoyono will visit both Koreas next month to discuss ways of resolving the North Korean nuclear impasse and ease tension on the Korean Peninsula.

“Indonesia has a very close relationship with North Korea, establishing diplomatic ties nine years earlier than with South Korea,” a South Korean Embassy official in Indonesia said. “Since the North thinks highly of Indonesia as a diplomatic intermediary, it is very likely that Kim will visit Indonesia. The question is when.”

So friendly are the two countries that former Indonesian President Sukarno named an orchid after Kim Il-sung. Indonesia also recently provided a venue for the reunion of Charles Jenkins, a U.S. soldier who deserted to the North, and his Japanese wife Soga Hitomi, who had been abducted by North Korea, with their two daughters. Jakarta also served as a go-between to arrange an inter-Korean defense ministers’ meeting. “Indonesia is making active contributions to peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula,” a state-run North Korean media outlet said. “It is doing so with good intentions.”



Posted in Politics @ 10 March 2006 14:58 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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