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South Korea's diplomatic dance

From Sohn Jie-Ae
CNN Correspondent

Roh has not been successful in quelling anti-American protests within South Korea
Roh has not been successful in quelling anti-American protests within South Korea

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• Profile: Roh Moo-hyun  


• Special Report: The Two Koreas 

SEOUL, South Korea (CNN) -- South Korean President-elect Roh Moo-hyun is not known for his first hand knowledge of global affairs.

He has never even been to the United States. But if there is one thing the North Korean crisis is giving him, it is a crash course on the importance of international relations.

It is a tough lesson for someone who rode in on the wave of nationalistic and especially anti-American sentiments.

But Roh's advisors are getting ready to fan the globe, letting world leaders know that he is a man they can deal with.

Adviser, Yoo Jae-keun, will address the most crucial ally, the United States, to deliver the message.

"He's not anti-American and he's an open-minded leader, particularly towards America and American policy," says Yoo.

The new president has strongly condemned North Korea's nuclear activities and already tried to quell anti-American protests, but not with much success.

And so the major task still remains, how to reconcile his anti-American supporters to the fact that he now needs to work hand-in-hand with Washington to resolve the North Korea issue.

The success of which could have repercussions far beyond Seoul.

"If we go down the road of tailored containment, then it is an issue of when South Korea and Japan will jump on the bandwagon of containment, if they jump aboard at all," Lee Chung-min of Yosnie University says.

"But it will be crucial for the Bush administration to get them aboard because they cannot pursue this policy unilaterally."

But there are already signs that putting up a united front with Washington may not be as easy as it sounds.

South Korea's outgoing President Kim Dae-jung, with whom the new president shares North Korean policy views, has pointed out that isolating communist countries has never been a successful policy.



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