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[Editorial] Roh’s Visit to Pyongyang Should Ease into Nuclear Dismantlement

[Editorial] Roh’s Visit to Pyongyang Should Ease into Nuclear Dismantlement

Posted September. 27, 2007 03:07,   


The Six-Party Talks resume today and we are concerned that President Roh might pursue a different goal during the inter-Korean summit, which will take place five days from today. The two talks share the ultimate goal of dismantling North Korea’s nuclear program and facilities for good. Should Roh hint at a different direction, we will experience a devastating result.

The two events carry different structures and different ramifications. Kim Jong Il, the leader of North Korea, will host the inter-Korean summit, while Foreign Minister Kim Gye Gwan participates in the Six-Party Talks subject to Kim Jong Il’s will one-hundred percent. In other words, Minister Kim could not make a “bold” move unless Kim Jung Il supports it with a preceding bold gesture. Thus, should President Roh induce Kim Jung Il’s “nuclear concession,” the multinational talks will be half done the right way. Nothing could be more promising than this scenario.

On the other hand, if the two leaders close their eyes to the sluggish Six-Party Talks and discuss other marginal issues such as economic exchange, South and North Koreans will in the end pay for such negligence. It will be a one-time showmanship function without any substance, and Roh will not avoid heavy criticism that he has helped our national archenemy. We cannot, however, brush away the nightmare. Former South Korean delegation leader and incumbent Foreign Minister Song reportedly told U.N. Secretary General Ban recently, “The leaders will mainly discuss issues concerning economic exchange.”

Any promise made by North Korea at the Six-Party Talks is interim in nature until and unless the secluded regime eventually abandons its nuclear program. The summit meeting should be the one to convince Koreans as well as the global community that Pyongyang is serious this time and will abandon the program for sure. The world seems to believe the recently erupted rumor about the secret nuclear deal between North Korea and Syria. That is why we badly need Kim Jung Il’s promise now.

President Roh’s term ends in about five months. If he fails to get a concrete answer and choose just to trust Kim’s goodwill, the next administration may hear a different answer from the regime. To stop salami-slice tactics of the North to gain concession piece by piece at every stage of negotiations, Roh should focus on getting a clear answer on nuclear dismantlement. Roh’s visit will shine only when he stands by the Six-Party Talks.