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‘Flexible Handling’ Principles Set Before Inter-Korean Summit

‘Flexible Handling’ Principles Set Before Inter-Korean Summit

Posted October. 23, 2008 09:46,   


The former Roh Moo-hyun administration predicted North Korea would raise aggressive issues at the second inter-Korean summit held Oct. 4 last year and prepared countermeasures beforehand.

According to a confidential document of the South Korean Unification Ministry obtained by The Dong-A Ilbo yesterday, the ministry set up principles of “flexible handling” over “fundamental issues” that the North asked to deal with first. The fundamental issues included the abolition of the National Security Law and Korea-U.S. joint military exercises.

The Roh administration apparently made such a decision to ensure a good result from the second summit between the two Koreas.

In the summit, Roh allegedly expressed his willingness to make a concession on disputes over the Northern Limit Line and the National Security Law.

His government also categorized matters on the sea border and opening of revolutionists’ tombs to South Korean tourists as issues to be agreed by the two leaders.

On the Northern Limit Line, the Roh administration decided to urge North Korean leader Kim Jong Il to accept Seoul’s demand. The document says the South planned to decide whether to push the North to open the tombs of revolutionists to South Korean tourists, depending on the conditions. To improve the atmosphere of the summit, Roh planned more efforts to visit many places and watch many performances.

On Pyongyang’s demand to abolish the National Security Law, a Seoul official at the time said, “We’ll let North Korea know that only the National Assembly can decide whether to abolish the law and changes can be made depending on improvement in inter-Korean relations.”

The document also showed that the Roh administration planned to set up measures depending on inter-Korean relations if the North urged a stop to joint South Korea-U.S. military exercises and a lifting of strategic goods control.