south korean flag_311 reuters.
(photo credit: Reuters / Lee Jae Won)
South Korea is playing its cards very close to its chest as to which way it will
vote in the event that a resolution on the establishment of a Palestinian state
comes up on the agenda of the UN General Assembly this month.
Korean Ambassador Young Sam Ma, at the conclusion of a farewell address at the
Begin Heritage Center in Jerusalem on Wednesday night, was diplomatic and
noncommittal when asked how his country will vote.
Ma, who was speaking
under the auspices of the Israel Council on Foreign Relations, said that South
Korea is looking at both the Israeli and the Palestinian positions, and watching
to see what is happening. His hope was that America and the European Union will
be able to persuade the parties to return to the negotiating table before the
General Assembly session and thereby avoid a confrontation at the
“Direct dialogue is the only way,” he said.
If a resolution is
on the table, he added, there will be a lot of discussion in which South Korea
will participate, and in so doing will try to find a way towards a reasonable
In the course of his address, Ma spoke of North Korea’s nuclear
“We face the same dangers from North Korea as you face
from Iran,” he told his Israeli audience. The North Koreans he said, can now
make nuclear weapons with enriched uranium and North Korean missiles can reach
the northern part of North America.
The North Koreans are now selling
some of this technology to the Middle East, he added.
Ma, who is an
unabashed admirer of Israel, suggested that Israelis should not take the finds
in the Tamir and Leviathan gas fields too seriously.
At best, he said,
they will be beneficial for 20 or 30 years. He urged Israelis to look back at
the miracle they created without natural resources, and not to get
overenthusiastic about the minimal natural resources that are now being