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[Editorial] Government’s Improper Remarks on Inter-Korean Summit

[Editorial] Government’s Improper Remarks on Inter-Korean Summit

Posted October. 12, 2006 07:08,   


North Korean Ambassador to the U.N. Park Gil Yeon said after the announcement of nuclear test, “The UN Security Council should congratulate North Korean scientists instead of issuing a useless resolution or chairman’s statement.” North Korea repeatedly makes South Koreans uncomfortable by taking the South hostage and boasting about it.

A month ago, North Korean leader Kim Jong Il said, “The end of hard life is just around the corner,” hinting at the nuclear test. Since the communist country’s leader is obsessed with nuclear technology, he is conducting nuclear test costing 280 billion won, following 60 billion-won missile launches, at a time when hundreds of thousands of its people are starving to death. This is so serious that even its brother country China is talking about punishing the North, saying, “Kim is a 2-year-old Hitler.”

Yet a day after the North’s nuclear test, the South Korean government is talking about holding an inter-Korean summit as if it is the shrewdest scheme to resolve the nuclear issue. Prime Minister Han Myeong-sook said before the National Assembly, “We are considering sending a special envoy to the North or holding an inter-Korean summit to overcome the crisis.” Minister of Unification Lee Jong-seok stated, “A South-North summit can be effective,” and President Roh Moo-hyun added, “We will review again what we can do with an inter-Korean summit.” Leaders of the South and the North are similar in that they do not grasp the gravity of the current situation.

Since South Korea’s engagement policy toward the North turned out to be a failure, what is most needed is to enhance international cooperation. The government’s idea of playing a leading role in solving the nuclear issue is nothing more than a fantasy. If the government continues to talk about the summit with the North, rather than showing determination to resist the summit, it will be regarded as preoccupied with self-reliance or as “falling in love” with Kim Jong Il, who is trying to lesson imminent sanctions at all cost.

Korea has fully experienced that it cannot change the behavior of the North Korean regime with giving a carrot or crying out the hollow slogan of “We are one nation.” The North promised to freeze its nuclear facilities in exchange for heavy oil supply and light water reactor construction under the 1996 Geneva Agreement with the U.S., yet it continued to make enriched uranium. Last year, it refused the Korean government’s proposal of large-scale economic support including 2 million kW of electricity, further pushing for nuclear development. Everybody knows that rewarding bad behavior makes him even bolder.

Even if Korea can bring the North to the summit table with pleading, it will be only offering the North a place of propaganda and bribing Kim with a large sum of money for its regime. Also, it becomes clearer that the nuclear test was done to receive a guarantee of safety of the regime from the U.S., which is why experts predict that North Korea will then demand a negotiation on arms reduction. North Korea is likely to get talks with the U.S. while closing communication channels with the South. In this regard, even if the North accepts the South’s proposal for the summit, it is only a tactic designed to disrupt international collaboration.

Roh administration should know this much however blind it is. If the Roh administration is trying to get an upper hand in next year’s presidential election through summit talks, it will have to face the judgment of its people. The people will not be blinded by the scheme any more.