Go to contents

[Editorial] Government Should Do Its Share in NK-J Talks

[Editorial] Government Should Do Its Share in NK-J Talks

Posted August. 30, 2002 22:04,   


Japanese Prime Minister Koizumi Junichiro`s visit to North Korea is yet another historical event that could bring about a sea change on the Korean Peninsula.

It is significant in that heads of the two states meet with each other for the first time. But more importantly, if the two countries share the common goal of overcoming the past and promoting the normalization of their diplomatic ties, it will have great repercussion shockwave to neighboring countries.

Koizumi`s visit to the North is especially important especially in that the Korean Peninsula is witnessing significant changes. South and North Korea produced a number of agreements at the economic talks, which was wrapped up yesterday. Earlier, North Korea leader Kim Jong-il held summit talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Vladivostok last week. The US is expected to send a special envoy to North Korea in September. Now enters Japan. As witnessed here, a `synchronous diplomatic war` has begun in earnest.

It is desirable that North Korea is bent on resuming talks with neighboring countries. Koizumi`s visit to North Korea is also a welcoming move in that the visit represents a defusion of tension on the Korean Peninsula and a first step for North Korea to become a responsible member of the international community. But Koizumi`s visit to North Korea should not be an equivalent to a surprise party to restore his plunging popularity.

Japan should learn a lesson from the visit and return visit 2 years ago paid by then US State Secretary Albright and North Korean military official Jo Myung-rok.

The events raised hope for the normalization of ties between the US and the North. But the relations froze overnight with the power transfer in the US.

In this vein, Japan is urged to take a cautious approach so that Koizumi`s visit can contribute to the peace on the Korean Peninsula.

What the government should do is crystal clear. The government should be aware that the summit talks between the North and Japan is not `none of out business`, and closely consult with Japan so that the first-ever visit by the Japanese premier can produce a lot of fruits.

If possible the government should contact North Korea. The government should not hide anything about the return visit of Kim Jong-il to the public. If the government tries to have Kim visit South Korea through a behind-the-scenes negotiation, it will never gain the support from the public.