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Change to Plan on Improving NK Relations Mulled

Posted October. 22, 2009 07:31,   


The government is reportedly reviewing a revision to a basic plan on improving inter-Korean relations.

The plan was devised toward the end of the previous Roh Moo-hyun administration and is focused on implementing tasks. The proposed revision is known to seek a more comprehensive strategy on dealing with North Korea.

Such a plan must be set up every five years under a law on developing inter-Korean relations that took effect in 2006. The current plan was made in November 2007 and is effective through 2012.

With the situation on the Korean Peninsula significantly changed in the wake of the North’s second nuclear test and missile launches, the government concluded that radical revision of the plan is needed.

An unofficial meeting of a committee on the development of inter-Korean relations held recently by the Unification Ministry agreed that the basic plan cannot reflect the changed situation by laying out too detailed tasks.

Revision is needed to present comprehensive strategies and principles surrounding North Korean issues, government officials at the meeting said.

They also agreed that the plan must reflect the incumbent government’s policy direction and philosophy toward the North.

The plan presents seven major strategic goals such as the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, the creation of a peace regime, and taking the first step toward the inter-Korean economic community.

For the peace regime, the establishment of a special zone for peace and cooperation is proposed. For the inter-Korean economic community, the plan urges both Koreas to cooperate in running cooperatives and set an official language.

A participant at the meeting said, “Flexible responses are impossible because the plan lists not only tasks that cannot be implemented if the situation changes but also those that need adjustment. Some reportedly urged more emphasis on the resolution of the nuclear issue and human rights abuses in North Korea."

Other experts said, however, that the revision will pour cold water on efforts to improve relations by provoking the North. One said, “It’s reasonable to raise issue with excessively detailed tasks and the basic plan should reflect the incumbent government`s policies.

He added, however, “If the government changes the basic plan on political grounds, this will trigger conflict within South Korea.”