South Korea does not rule out ties with Moscow
South Korea will ''wait and see'' whether to continue its policy of seeking official ties with the Soviet Union, Foreign Minister Lee Bum Suk said this week after the downing of the South Korean airliner Aug. 31.
During the past year, Seoul has pursued a policy of seeking trade and official ties with South Korea's two giant communist neighbors to the north, China and the Soviet Union, which has been dubbed its ''northward policy.''
Foreign Minister Lee also said that no retaliatory action will be taken against the Soviet Union, although a South Korean delegation's trip to Tashkent last weekend to attend a UNESCO conference was canceled. He said he would ''wait and see'' the Kremlin's final reaction and the results of the current United Nations Security Council session before taking a definite decision on South Korea's future relations with the Soviet Union.
''I am trying to find the ways and means to end the recurrence of this kind of tragedy'' through the UN Security Council and other international forums, he said. Lee was pleased that China condemned the Soviet Union's ''intolerable deed.''
Japan has assured President Chun that it would do everything possible to assist South Korea in investigating the downing. At the same time, many South Korean and Japanese military analysts feel that the time has come for Washington , Tokyo, and Seoul to join forces to strengthen their defense posture in northeast Asia.
On the domestic front, the airliner downing has brought a political truce for the first time since Chun Doo Hwan became President in March 1981. In condemning what they unanimously regard as the Soviet Union's ''barbaric and inhuman act,'' South Koreans of many different political persuasions have rallied behind the government.
The event has confirmed many South Koreans' convictions that the Soviet Union is out to destroy noble human ideals. As a taxi driver put it, ''Our fury and frustration may die away some day, but our anti-communist stance is here to stay.''
[South Korea's parliament unanimously adopted a resolution Thursday denouncing the Soviet Union for its ''barbaric, inhuman mid-air massacre.'' The resolution repeated government demands that Moscow reveal the full facts, make full compensation, apologize publicly, and punish those responsible, according to Reuters. A massive funeral service for the dead was attended Wednesday by a crowd of more than 100,000 in Seoul's soccer stadium.]