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[Opinion] North Korean Ambassador

Posted April. 30, 2004 21:20,   


Libyan leader Muammar Gadaffi, on his first trip to Europe in 15 years, is becoming a topic of conversation. He looks strange to the West, with his female bodyguards and the tent he resides in while overseas. However, what is more surprising than his appearance are his words. His courageous voice saying, “The U.S. and China should give up weapons of mass destruction,” shows he is not the timid leader who escaped America’s bombing attacks in 1986 any more.

Is the transformation of Gadaffi all his own decision? Considering the current record of Libyan foreign affairs, the answer is no. The beginning of the transformation was the case that led two suspects of the Lockerbie incident to UN. The main reason why Libya gave up its spies who destroyed U.S. Pan Am Flight 103 was economic difficulty due to the economic blockade. Afterwards, however, there was no obstacle in the way of Libya. With active foreign relations, such as a summit meeting, Libya progressed its unofficial negotiations with the U.K. and the U.S.

One of the best unofficial negotiations between countries is ambassador diplomacy. It is in this way that leaders exchange communication without any consideration of public opinion. Libya is its standard case. Will this way be effective in smoothing the relationship between South Korea and North Korea? Although many people, such as Lee Hu-lak in 1970s, Jang Se-dong, Seo Dong-kwun, and Park Chul-un in 1980s, and Park Ji-won and Im Dong-wan in the Kim Dae Jung administration, acted as ambassadors, there is no hint that North Korea is going to change like Libya.

Some people suggested, “Let’s place the responsibility of being North Korean ambassador on Park Kun-hae, a representative of the Grand National Party (GNP).” Considering the fact that Park responded positively, there is some possibility. If it comes true, the second generations of Park Jung-hee and Kim Il-sung will present themselves. It is likely to become a topic of conversation. It is said that Kim Jung-il said at the visit of Park in May, 2002, “I want to pray before the burial place of Park Jung-hee, a former president.” It says Kim has a good feeling about Park. Isn’t it possible that two people can do something epoch-making in the relationship between South and North?

Song Moon-hong, Editorial Writer songmh@donga.com