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[Editorial] The Inter-Korean Dialogue Requires of More Tangible Implementations

[Editorial] The Inter-Korean Dialogue Requires of More Tangible Implementations

Posted September. 18, 2001 08:48,   


The 5th Inter-Korean Minister level meeting will close today after its three-day session. People have to monitor the real implementation of the agreements during this meeting. Looking back the interrupted inter-Korean relationship since the 3rd exchange of the separated family groups in the past February, the violator of the agreement was the North. Not a few people has disappointed by such attitude of the North. The sarcastic responses to the agreement of this meeting, ``What`s new about the agreement?`` come from the past experiences.

For example, the return visit of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il was promised at the 6.15 Inter-Korean summit talks. The military guarantee agreement for the connection of the roads and the Kyong-Ui railway was made by the 5th Inter-Korean Military working group meeting at Panmunjom in February. The situation is almost the same to the Mt. Keumgang Tour, the Gaesung Industrial Complex, the separated family issue, and the Countermeasures to prevent the Im Jin River flood. The both Koreas had shown their blue prints about those projects by the official or non-official contacts. However, since none of those has been carried out on schedule, the same agendas had to be brought on the negotiation table again.

It seems that the North has considered the South`s political situation about the dismissal of Im Dong-Won the former Unification Minister, the re-establishment of trilateral relationship among the North, China, and Russia, and the full-blown atmosphere for the resumption of North-U.S. dialogue. Therefore, the North might want to simply emphasize the agreements instead of fully recovering the interrupted inter-Korean relationship.

In addition, the North raised the issue of the long-term political prisoners who had not converted. Since the government insists that there are no more long-term prisoners, the North raised an agenda that might not be able to reach an agreement. In addition, the North was reluctant of adopting the Anti-Terrorism Declaration that might help to refresh the national image of the North but rather repeatedly made the controversial electric power supply as a subject of the discussion. Thus, the motivation that the North admitted this Minister level dialogue is very suspicious.

As the North insisted, to solve the problems of our nation, the honest implementation of a minor agreement is much more significant than huge plans and rosy promises. Both Koreans will come to trust each other on the process of the cooperation. If not, the distrust among others will increase. Therefore, the consequence of the 5th Minister level meeting has to be carefully monitored.