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Post-Nobel prize Korea -- Warmer Sunshine

Posted October. 16, 2000 16:11,   


With President Kim Dae-Jung`s winning the 2000 Nobel Peace Prize, he is expected to boost his efforts to settle peace on the Korean peninsula and improve the inter-Korean relationship. In particular, his winning the prize will provide momentum for the president to take the initiative in diplomacy in the Northeast Asia region revolving around the peninsula.

The Nobel Institute, explaining its awarding the peace prize to Kim, assessed Oct. 14 that he has exerted efforts on five decades of animosity between the two Koreas through his sunshine policy. This means the official international recognition of his endeavor to end the Cold War on the peninsula.

Considering that the Korean question is closely related to the Northeast Asian region, it is obvious that President Kim`s Nobel prize threw weight behind the proposition that the "Korean question must be addressed by the parties concerned."

Hence, President Kim is likely to come out positively to consolidate the current mood of inter-Korean reconciliation as an irresistible trend and build a foundation for a peaceful unification of Korea, with the blessing of international support and assistance. And free from criticism from some quarters, he is expected to do his best to implement the June 15 Inter-Korean Joint Declaration.

In parallel with the fresh development in the relations between North Korea and the United States following the issuance of a joint communiqué Oct. 12, Kim might well help the North become a viable member of the international community.

Prof. Suh Dong-Man of the Institute for Foreign Affairs and National Security, noting that the progress in both the inter-Korean and North Korean-U.S. relations are accelerated, the relations between the North and Japan will follow suit, said that this means the "Perry process" that has been pursued between Pyongyang and Washington is taking a step forward and entering into a stage of a peace process.

This is to say that with Kim`s Nobel peace award as a turning point, the international attention focused on the Korean peninsula has reached the point of no return, where Pyongyang`s moves for improving its ties with foreign powers cannot be reversible.

However, some people might well point out that Kim`s Nobel prize winning could help further improve inter-Korean relations and accelerate the North¡¯s contacts with the outside countries, but that there should be no complacence about it, as there is no guarantee with documents. And some asserted that the accelerating North Korean contacts with the United States and Japan, the international community should not discourage the development of South-North Korean relations.

And in order to dispel a criticism that Kim`s crusade toward the North was part of his scheme to receive the Nobel Peace Prize, he will have to continue to implement substantial policies toward the North, it was also pointed out.

Kim Young-Sik spear@donga.com