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(Yonhap Interview) Slovakian parliamentary chief calls on N.Korea to come to denuclearization dialogue

2017/06/28 09:09

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SEOUL, June 28 (Yonhap) -- Slovakia's parliamentary chief has said the international community should continue to keep North Korea isolated if the recalcitrant regime sticks to its nuclear ambitions, warning that all oppressive and totalitarian regimes "are limited by time."

   Andrej Danko, the speaker of the National Council of the Slovak Republic, made the remarks in an interview with Yonhap News Agency Tuesday during his visit to Seoul to attend an annual meeting of Eurasian parliamentary leaders.

"I think that the international community has to keep North Korea isolated unless they give up their way of governance and they are willing to discuss the nuclear potential," Danko said.

Andrej Danko, the speaker of the National Council of the Slovak Republic, speaks during an interview with Yonhap News Agency at a Seoul hotel on June 27, 2017. (Yonhap) Andrej Danko, the speaker of the National Council of the Slovak Republic, speaks during an interview with Yonhap News Agency at a Seoul hotel on June 27, 2017. (Yonhap)

"I think if the isolation will be strong enough, ultimately, North Koreans will receive the ultimate prize and ultimate gift of freedom.... There is nothing more valuable... I know you (South Koreans) wish this gift to North Koreans very much."

   Danko, who has led Slovakia's legislature since last year, said the adjectives of his choice -- oppressive and totalitarian -- are descriptive enough of the "grave" North Korean situation.

"Now, many Koreans living in North Korea are deprived of liberty, freedom that they cannot enjoy as much as South Koreans are enjoying now ... The situation is quite grave and complicated with the information I have from TV and what I have seen," he said.

Asked if Slovakia's transition towards a market economy from socialism could offer any lesson for the North or South yearning for national reunification, Danko noted that the Central European country has made a "lot of mistakes."

   "It was only later that we have discovered what lessons we should have learned at the very beginning. We have very easily given up, for example, our defense industry, our heavy industry and we have made a lot of mistakes during the privatization of the state properties," he said.

Danko, then, pointed to South Koreans' work ethics and diligence as the lessons his country may want to learn.

"We have many lessons to learn from Korea as well. For example, your working discipline and your diligence are very good examples that we may take from you," he said. "I think by learning these lessons, we do not disappoint your investors in Slovakia, we do not disappoint our European Union."

   During the interview, the chief parliamentarian also voiced hopes for expanding the scope of bilateral economic cooperation that has hitherto focused on the manufacturing sector.

"The time has come also to shift somewhat our mutual interest to, for example, tourism and engage in more cultural exchanges as well," he said.

"The time will come when Koreans will know better about Slovakia. We are not only good at assembling things, but also in tourism for example -- the things that have already been discovered by French (people) and Germans," he added.

He is visiting Seoul to attend the three-day Meeting of Speakers of Eurasian Countries' Parliaments that ends Wednesday. The annual gathering on cooperation for shared prosperity is jointly hosted by South Korea's parliament and the State Duma, the lower house of Russia's legislature.

sshluck@yna.co.kr

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