Go to contents

Ex-President’s Visit North Questioned

Posted April. 26, 2006 03:17,   


The ruling and opposition parties yesterday offered mixed assessment and forecast of the agreement in the inter-Korean ministerial level meeting on former President Kim Dae-jung’s visit to North Korea in June.

The Grand National Party (GNP) mainly pointed out that there might have been some back room dealings or that the ruling party was planning to use the former president’s visit to the North as a political tactic. However, the ruling Uri Party, the Democratic Labor Party, and the Millennium Democratic Party hailed the planned visit by the former president, saying that it would contribute to resuming the stalled six-party talks and establishing peace on the Korean peninsula.

GNP Spokesman Lee Gye-jin said, “Kim’s visit must be carried out transparently and genuinely without public suspicion and misunderstanding,” adding, “The government should not use the visit politically by engaging in it too deeply.”

Lee also requested the former president not to take excessive measures without public consensus and agreement by being obsessed with results.

Lee Bang-ho, GNP’s chief policy coordinator, added, “The former administration held the inter-Korean summit in 2000 by paying $500 million. I’m concerned there might be some back room dealings (between the two Koreas).”

In response, Uri Party Spokesman Woo Sang-ho criticized, “Remarking upon the former president’s visit to Pyongyang is revealing how narrow a political force (the GNP) is.”

Choi Sung, a Uri Party lawmaker who formed an association of lawmakers in support of the former president’s visit to the North, said, “Talking about possibilities of back room dealings after demanding to delay a visit to Pyongyang in April citing the ruling party could take advantage of it in the local elections, the GNP makes one wonder if it has a will to improve the inter-Korean relations.”

Lee Sang-yeol, spokesman for Millennium Democratic Party said, “Specific timing and methods of visiting the North should be agreed on soon.” Democratic Labor Party Representative Shim Sang-jung stressed, “The former president’s visit to Pyongyang must not be used for party interests or as political agenda.”