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Another Dispute over `No-Principle Policy on North Korea`

Another Dispute over `No-Principle Policy on North Korea`

Posted October. 31, 2001 09:09,   


Although the government has refused to accept North Korea`s demand that their ministerial talks be held at the Mt. Geumgang since the cancellation of the fourth family exchange program scheduled on 16th, the government decided to accept North Korea`s demand yesterday. The government`s decision is creating criticism that the government has no-principle in its policy on North Korea.

Moreover, the government has emphasized that there should be changes in North Korea`s attitude or in the international trend in order to accept the North`s demand for holding ministerial talks at Mt. Geumgang. Hence, the government`s reversed position is under criticism as it clearly shows the lack of transparency in the decision making process on the North Korea policy.

Kim Hong-Jae, spokesperson of the Ministry of Unification, said, ``The Ministry is examining various plans regarding the prompt holding of the ministerial talks and the consideration of Mt. Geumgang as a meeting place to continue the South-North dialogue.`` indicating the acceptance of holding talks at Mt. Geumgang. It was reported that the government plans to deliver the phone notice under the name of Hong Soon-Young Minister of Unification to North, which contains the acceptance of ministerial talks at Mt. Geumgan.

Kim Hong-Jae explained the background behind the government`s decision, saying that ``realistically considering the North`s demand for holding talks at Mt. Geumgang, it is hard to ignore. The Ministry thinks that it should accept the North`s demand for holding talks at Mt. Geumgang in order to continually promote the talks and to solve the pending issues between South and North, such as family exchange.``

Meanwhile, the government plans to hold ministerial talks at Mt. Geumgang beginning on November. 9th by using Mt. Geumgang tourist boat Sulbong, which operates on November. 8th. However, the government is considering readjusting the timing since all the reservation for hotels in Jangjeon Port is complete.