South Korean President Roh Tae Woo said Saturday he and Mikhail Gorbachev had agreed to put "unhappy incidents" like the Korean War and the downing of a Korean jetliner behind them as they form closer relations.
Roh, wrapping up a three-day visit to Moscow that solidified diplomatic relations restored earlier this year, said the new ties would be good for both countries and would also hopefully help in the process of the reunification of Korea."Few nations on Earth suffered as much pain and hardship under the Cold War as the Korean people," Roh said. "Under the dictates of the Cold War, the nation and the territory had to be divided and we had to suffer millions of casualties.
"The rapid improvement in our bilateral relations (with the Soviet Union) indicates that an important development is taking place in the Cold War setting on the Korean peninsula."
Roh said he hoped that the Soviet Union's relations with North Korea, which it backed in the Korean War and has been a major recipient of Soviet aid, would not suffer because of the improving Soviet-South Korean relations.
He added that his summit with Gorbachev was yet another indication of the major changes in the world and a chance to put the confrontations of the past behind them.
"During the past years there were times when the Soviet Union led one camp opposed to the Western camp in the Cold War that generated undesired and unhappy incidents and events including the Korean War and the incident with the airliner of the South Korean KAL airliner," Roh said, referring to the downing of KAL Flight 007 by Soviet fighters on Sept. 1, 1983, killing 269 people.
"At the summit meeting with President Gorbachev we promised each other that everything that happened in the past will be a thing of the past, and we will start a new page, a new chapter in the history of our bilateral relations," Roh said. "We will join our efforts to cooperate in advancing to a brighter future."
An agreement signed by Roh and Gorbachev Friday pledged trade and economic cooperation between the economically crippled Soviet Union and South Korea, now an economic powerhouse in Asia.