South Korean opposition party leader Lee Min Woo, after meeting with Secretary of State George P. Shultz, said he remains "not fully satisfied" with the U.S. position on Korean political developments but appreciates the U.S. commitment to democracy.
Lee, president of the opposition New Korea Democratic Party, criticized public declarations made by Shultz during his May 7-8 visit to South Korea.
Lee said in a speech at George Washington University Thursday, after a meeting with Shultz at the State Department, that the secretary's remarks in Seoul were "construed as a sign of U.S. approval and support for the military dictatorship" of President Chun Doo Hwan.
Lee said in an interview that Shultz had assured him that "he didn't take sides" in Korean domestic politics. "Shultz emphasized and said he would assure me that the United States is fully in support of a democratic process and very strongly so," Lee said.
State Department spokesman Charles E. Redman said the meeting between Shultz and Lee, which took place Thursday morning, was a continuation of their discussions that began the previous week in Seoul. Lee was among those who met Shultz at a breakfast meeting May 8 at the home of U.S. Ambassador Richard L. Walker.
"I'll take Shultz' word that the United States will stand fully for the Korean people's wish to realize democracy," Lee said in the interview.
While Lee is the formal head of the opposition party, two other political figures, Kim Dae Jung and Kim Young Sam, are considered the dominant leaders of the opposition. Shultz did not agree to meet either of them during his stay in Korea.
Lee, who also saw senior Defense Department and National Security Council aides during his visit here, is expected to be a key figure in any interparty negotiations that could lead to a compromise arrangement for electing the next president.
Lee said he expects a special session of the Korean National Assembly will be held next month, but that negotiations over the rules for the next election "probably won't happen right away."