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[Editorial] Opening of DMZ Has Started?

Posted September. 15, 2002 23:05,   


North and South have agreed to open up the demilitarized zone (DMZ) for construction of railroads and roads connecting two Koreas. The agreement conveys a significant meaning in relieving tension and initiating peace between them. The DMZ is a symbol of the division of the Korean Peninsula caused by the Korean War. In addition, it also has served as a ground for military conflicts and, thus, threatened the peace on the peninsula.

Actually, the areas that will be opened are small fractions of the long winding band horizontally dividing the Korean Peninsula. On the western part, the area that will be open is to be 250m in West, and on the eastern part, it will be 100m. Nonetheless, they convey a tremendous symbolic meaning. The band (i.e. DMZ) has been a symbol of the division of two Koreas. Now it turns itself into a symbol of harmony that is just beginning to be formed. It was an unthinkable change in the past. It’s a real dramatic reverse in history. The most dangerous area around the world, which is infested with land minds and explosives, now will serve as the chain connecting railroads and highways running between two Koreas.

Even the measures for military safeguard are determined in a positive way, an issue that has been the major barrier in furtherance of the peace between them. Two Koreas will emerge again as a subject of interest in the world stage with the groundbreaking ceremony for the Kyung-Ui Line on September 18, 2002 and the operation to eliminate land minds scheduled for Sep. 19. This historic event shall be one that will serve both of North and South, and give benefits to them.

In order to achieve the goals, North and South shall always consider the mutual benefits before anything else. North may need some economic help from South due to its sluggish economy. South, however, shall not cave in and accept whatever requested by North. South should determine the necessity for giving aid(s) on a case-by-case basis. It is reported that the working level-talk being held at Kum Kang Mountain is not going forward due to the differences between the positions of both sides concerning the amount and method of the aid to be given. It is not desirable at all to buy North’s agreement with money.

When we look out at the circumstances around the Korean Peninsula, we will realize that they are changing rapidly. On September 17, 2002, a summit will be held between North Korea and Japan. In the meeting, the future of the two nations will be determined.

US, which has stopped all of its efforts to talk with North, is showing interest in resuming talks with it. It is necessary to pay attention to the moves of the 4 powers around the peninsula. Nonetheless, we should not forget that North and South are the ones that should initiate all the fundamental and substantial activities and moves between them. The construction project for railroads and roads shall be pursued with the ultimate goal just mentioned in mind.