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Wahid Stresses Democracy, Economic Recovery For Indonesia

June 8, 2000

TOKYO (Nikkei)--Indonesia will promote the extension of democracy rather than the use of force to secure stability, the country's President Abdurrahman Wahid said here Thursday.

In his speech at the annual International Conference on the Future of Asia, Wahid said he will seek investment to achieve 5% annual economic growth. The two-day forum, organized by Nihon Keizai Shimbun Inc., opened at a Tokyo hotel earlier in the day.

Referring to East Timor, the president proposed a trilateral meeting with himself, Australian Prime Minster John Howard and East Timor independence leader Xanana Gusmao.

Earlier at the conference, Gong Ro-myung, professor of Dongguk University in South Korea, who heads the Institute for Japanese Studies, said if Japan and South Korea avoid dwelling on the past and agree that maintaining friendship will contribute to the each nation's national security and economic prosperity, the bilateral relationship will become more productive and promising.

In his speech, "A New Age for the Japan-Korea Relationship and Stability on the Korean Peninsula," Gong stressed the importance of South Korea, Japan and the U.S. closely cooperating to relieve tensions on the Korean peninsula, while pointing out the three nations must try to involve China and Russia.

He said South Korea must make economic assistance to North Korea its top priority, while the U.S. and Japan must concentrate on preventing North Korea from developing nuclear-armed missiles. Gong also pointed out that the leadership in North Korea can easily change policies, making sudden progress in normalizing diplomatic relations with Japan possible.

He warned against expecting too much from the summit talks between South Korean President Kim Dae-jung and North Korean leader Kim Jong-il, but said the first meeting of leaders of two Koreas, after 55 years of separation, in itself has great meaning. Their meeting is set for June 12-14 in Pyongyang.

(The Nihon Keizai Shimbun Thursday evening edition)

Titles of speakers, names of companies, etc., were correct as of the time when the forum was held.