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Unification, Security Education to Undergo Change

Posted January. 14, 2008 22:49,   


A sweeping change in unification and security education is due, according to the presidential transition committee. The new policies are part of the national agenda report submitted to President-elect Lee Myung-bak by the committee Sunday as part of 54 themes on diplomacy, unification and security.

Critics have hit the liberal Kim Dae-jung and Roh Moo-hyun administrations for being ideologically biased and endorsing North Korea’s communist regime.

The committee’s proposed change is intended to reach a common national perception on North Korea and inter-Korean relations to implement a new policy toward Pyongyang based on reciprocity, especially linking humanitarian aid to nuclear disablement.

“We have repeatedly heard that unification and security education at schools and the military since the Kim Dae-jung administration have been too revisionist and left-leaning,” said a committee member. “Our report says fact-finding activities will be conducted and flaws will be corrected.”

“Details will be finalized in consultation with the unification, education and defense ministers after the new administration is inaugurated. We will revisit the process of how unification and security education policies are established and implemented.”

The question of efficiency and expertise of unification and security education policy-makers will be addressed, as well as stronger training for teachers and personnel. Textbooks and materials for students and servicemen will also be revised.

Lee’s subcommittee on diplomacy, unification and security had convened Friday its first general meeting of advisers at the Institute for Far Eastern Study in Seoul. Members came up with 12 agenda items, most notably “denuclearization and opening 3000,” “top priority on resolving North Korea’s nuclear program,” and “creative rebuilding of the Korea-U.S. relationship.” They also drew up detailed action plans, including a new education policy.

Inter-Korean economic cooperation, one of the policy priorities of the former Kim Dae-jung and the incumbent Roh administrations, was removed from the main agenda, according to a source. Certain committee members opposed the move, saying economic cooperation is a critical tool that Seoul cannot afford to lose in dealing with Pyongyang.

Lee also pledged to provide large-scale economic aid to North Korea in return for Pyongyang’s scrapping of its nuclear program. He also promised to build an artificial island at the mouth of the Han River to boost inter-Korean trade.