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[Editorial] Another Economic Deal without Clearing out North`s Nuclear Problem

[Editorial] Another Economic Deal without Clearing out North`s Nuclear Problem

Posted October. 24, 2002 22:54,   


Despite North Korea`s development of nuclear weapons, Kim Dae Jung administration attaches itself to making new economic deals with North. We are really worried about it. It is reported that Lee Dong-won, president`s special aid in charge of unification and foreign affairs, alleged that aids to North should not be contingent upon the nuclear issue. He made such remarks at the meeting of Kim with 5 presidential candidates held at the Blue House. It seems that the Kim administration has not realized the danger lying in its "separate approach." The administration will probably end up giving up all without receiving any quid pro quo.

The "strong will" of Kim Dae Jung administration toward the economic cooperation between the two Koreas is well demonstrated by the joint release for the 8th minister-level South-North talks. The statement, consisting of 8 major topics, is filled with provisions about the economic cooperation. We don`t understand why Kim Dae Jung administration attaches itself to the economic cooperation and deals thereon in such a hurried manner. Issues regarding North Korea`s nuclear weapons program have not been solved yet. Any economic deal ignoring North Korea`s nuclear development is not what the public wants at all.

Kim Dae Jung administration has repeatedly stressed that it would solve North`s nuclear issue though dialogue. But, maintaining a dialogue has nothing to do with the economic cooperation. Economic cooperation is the only method we could use to solve North Korea`s nuclear development. It is stupid to abandon such valuable means ourselves out of the confusion of dialogue with economic cooperation. Now, what is needed is to a "package approach." We should make the economic cooperation perfectly contingent upon the nuclear weapons issue, and, thus, adjust our "zeal" for the cooperation based on the responses North shows to solve the problem.

In this respect, Congress did a good job of cutting down on the government`s subsidies to the possible tourists to Mt. KumKang. It may have come too late considering the possibility that North Korea may have used the money it has earned from the tourism of Mt. Kumkang for developing nuclear weapons. This measure should be maintained until all the nuclear matters are solved and all the irrational conditions for the tourism are corrected.

What is most urgent is for Kim Dae Jung administration to figure out possible solutions to resolve North Korea`s nuclear weapons problems by all means. Is there any way to rein in North Korea, while continuing the economic cooperation? If not, Kim Dae Jung administration should act cautiously in making a determination on whether there is a need to maintain the cooperation.