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[Editorial] Inter-Korean Talks, a Window-dressing Event?

[Editorial] Inter-Korean Talks, a Window-dressing Event?

Posted August. 14, 2002 22:35,   


The 7th inter-Korean ministerial talks was wrapped up yesterday in disappointment.

We initially hoped that North Korea would come to the negotiating table in the first ministerial talks since the West Sea skirmish with an honest and active manner. But North Korea`s negotiating attitude did not seem to be changed from the past.

South and North Korea failed to reach an agreement on military talks to the last minute. Military talks are the most important prerequisite for a smooth operation of the inter-Korean railway project and the inland route and the development of an inland route for the Mt. Geumgang tour project. In this regard, it is not understandable that North Korea was willing to actively engage in economic cooperation projects while trying to avoid setting the date for military talks. It clearly demonstrates the duplicity of North Korea, which focuses only on gaining economic benefits, but ignores fundamental progress in the inter-Korean relations.

Even more deplorable is the South Korean government, which might be well aware of the intention of North Korea. Initially the government expressed its commitment to taking issue with the West Sea skirmish and military talks to prevent such an armed provocation from recurring. This could be translated into a strong determination that we will assist North Korea, but at the same time we will get things done our way.

But what is the result? We promised to give them much, but did not even produce our demand on the negotiating table. The government deserves criticism that the ministerial talks were a window-dressing to justify the provision of economic assistance for North Korea.

If inter-Korean talks continue to proceed this way, it will be difficult for the government to obtain the public support. The main reason the Sunshine Policy is put under fire is that the government has been too soft toward North Korea and, in this process, failed to promote reciprocity. If the Sunshine Policy of the Kim Dae-jung government is to bear fruits, the government should move beyond this anachronistic practice. The government should take note! Only when and if we baldly convey our demand to North Korea, we will be able to wield even stronger influence on North Korea.