On July 28, the National Council for A Better Society and other civic organizations held a press conference at New Gukje Hotel in Jung-gu, Seoul and announced a Special Declaration to Urge Fundamental Shift in Inter-Korean Relations.
The special declaration was signed by 143 social leaders. The signatories included former Director of Religious Affairs of the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism Song Weol-ju, former President of the Christian Council of Korea Choi Seong-kyu, former President of the Korean Bar Association Lee Se-jung, Chairman of the World Peace Forum Kim Jin-hyun, Standing Chairman of the New Right Kim Jin-hong, Secretary General of the Council for A Better Society Seo Kyung-seok, Professor Lee Myung-hyun of Seoul National University, and Chair Professor Lee In-ho of Myongji University.
They stated in the declaration, North Koreas possession of nuclear weapons and recent missile tests are yet another reminder of how futile the Sunshine Policy is. There is a need for a review of the North Korean policy, including South-North dialogue, economic cooperation and responses to Pyongyangs human rights issues.
The statement was followed by the demand for the abolition of the Sunshine Policy, a policy preserved since the Kim Dae-jung administration, and the Peace and Prosperity Policy. Instead, the declaration urged the government to apply more pressure on the North through international cooperation.
The statement continued to point out, It is the South Korean government that invited isolation from the international community by reaching unreasonable conclusions on Pyongyang. The South Korean government blindly offered carrots despite North Koreas refusal to change. The South Korean government should enhance international cooperation so that other nations such as the U.S. and Japan can understand the South Koreas position.
On humanitarian assistance, the signatories remarked, Humanitarian assistance and cooperative exchanges need adjustments while North Korea is placed under greater pressure for change. Inter-Korean exchanges should not be allowed to become the source of cash inflows into North Korea. Also, it is desirable to suspend Mt. Geumgang tourism until Pyongyang returns to the six-nation talks.
They added, Further deaths from hunger should be prevented by ongoing relief activities without conditionality. However, other parts of humanitarian assistance should take into account North Koreas human rights record. Any resumption of large-scale shipments of food or fertilizer must be accompanied by the procedures of ensuring fair and transparent distribution.