Harder Line Urged
Byline: James Morrison, THE WASHINGTON TIMES
Harder line urged
An Indonesian legislator yesterday urged President Bush to take a harder line on North Korea to prevent that isolated Stalinist country from developing nuclear weapons that could threaten the South Asian island nation.
Djoko Susilo of the opposition National Mandate Party also urged the United States to lift military sanctions against the Indonesian army and do more to promote democratic reforms in the world's most populous Muslim nation, which had a long history of dictatorial regimes.
He noted a sharp decline in the anti-American rhetoric that was prevalent before the United States rushed aid to Indonesia to help victims of the Dec. 26 tsunami.
"The American administration is not pushing too hard [on North Korea]. We support this hard-line approach. It is a threat to us," Mr. Susilo told editors and reporters over lunch at The Washington Times.
Mr. Susilo, who serves on the foreign relations committee of the People's Representative Assembly, called the North Korean regime "unstable and irrational." He called on the Bush administration to be even "more aggressive" in its efforts to force North Korea to comply with international efforts to monitor its nuclear program.
North Korea has refused to continue talks with representatives of the United States, China, Japan, Russia and South Korea.
Mr. Susilo dismissed suggestions from some diplomats who urge the United States to provide incentives for North Korea to resume the talks, noting that the Clinton administration got little in return for its efforts to deal with the regime.
Mr. Susilo also said the Bush administration could help promote democracy in Indonesia by providing more training and education for the country's military. The United States completely cut off military training after army atrocities in East Timor in 1999 when that former Indonesian province voted for independence.
The State Department has recognized Indonesia's progress toward democracy and called last year's presidential election free and fair. …