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Park seeks to benchmark N.K.-Germany ties

Posted April. 04, 2013 01:56,   


President Park Geun-hye said, “North Korea is said to have the belief that it should keep its promise with Germany without fail," effectively confirming that she considers North Korea-Germany ties as the target for benchmarking in her bid to pursue what she calls the "Korean Peninsula trust-building process."

“When implementing a joint project with North Korea, Germany gave the North the impression that ‘the North should never break promise with Germany,’ which is believed to take corresponding measures if the North breaks promises both nations agreed to follow,” President Park was quoted as saying by government sources at the joint briefing by the Foreign Affairs Ministry and the Unification Ministry last Wednesday. “Likewise, trust is important. By implementing policy through consistency, we should prompt the North to think ‘it would pay the price’ if and when it does things wrong,” stressing, “We should make sure that North Korea keeps promises with the international community without fail.”

Kim Jang-soo, chief of the presidential National Security Office, said, “I understand that as North Korea is well aware that if it breaks even a single promise, its relationship with Germany will collapse. Hence Germany’s aid programs for North Korea have been seamlessly implemented based on trust.”

A former member of Park’s presidential transition committee said, “(President Park) referred to relationship of trust that has been built up through Germany’s humanitarian assistance and exchange programs for North Korea. North Korea-Germany relationship is an important case that constitutes the core concept of the Korean Peninsula trust-building process.”“The president disclosed her strong commitment that South Korea should not let North Korea break promises it made with the South and international community or let it try to justify it and do things as it pleases,” a government source also said.

Accordingly, the Foreign Ministry and the Unification Ministry are seeking in earnest to find actual cases of North Korea-Germany relationship, and ways to apply them to (South Korea’s) North Korea policy.

A key official at the government interpreted the bilateral relationship that "It is close to reciprocity of ‘tit for tat,’ which suggests that while Germany extends favors first, if North Korea breaks promises and betrays, it is punished with vengeance; if North Korea positively responds, Germany continues cooperation.” This is the same method of cooperation that West Germany used toward East Germany in the unification process.”

“North Korea-Germany relations are the application of West Germany-East Germany relations as they were,” said Kim Yeong-hui, former South Korean ambassador to Serbia and expert on Germany. “While providing economic assistance to East Germany, West Germany cooperated with East Germany in a way that the latter had to take corresponding measures, including expansion of the scope of East Germans’ visits to West Germany." Kim added, "Germany does not form diplomatic ties with a country that fails to keep its word.”

President Park’s remarks on “benchmarking North Korea-Germany relations” are drawing all the more attention since North Korea declared resumption of five megawatt-class, graphite-moderated nuclear reactor in the Yongbyon nuclear complex Tuesday, breaking the agreement reached at the six-party talks in 2007.“Rather than the North`s current threat, the government is taking more seriously the fact that the North broke the promise,” said a ranking official at the presidential office.

According to the Foreign Ministry, Germany provided North Korea with aid worth 1.7 million euros in 2005, 1.2 million euros in 2006, and 2.55 million euros in 2008 since the establishment of the diplomatic relations in 2001. “I understand that Stefan Dreyer, director of the Goethe Institute Korea, recently visited North Korea, and Jürgen Klimke, a German parliament member, will visit Pyongyang to discuss humanitarian aid in May,” a Korean diplomatic source said.