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Park slows down ‘unification bonanza’ initiative

Posted April. 14, 2014 03:49,   


President Park Geun-hye has started to adjust the speed at which to push for the so-called “reunification bonanza initiative.” The move comes as she feels the need to slow down the bid, as North Korea expressed strong objection to Park’s "Dresden reunification proposals," and in the wake of infiltration of unmanned aerial vehicles into South Korea and infringement of the presidential office’s air defense system. Notably, the drone incident has significantly damaged the Korean Peninsula trust-building process that is based on strong national security. With the North’s threatening a new type of nuclear test, the South can no longer afford to unilaterally trumpet environment for unification.

The proposed presidential preparatory committee for national unification has been dealt with a direct blow. President Park announced a plan to launch the committee for the first time on February 25, the first anniversary of her inauguration. Park announced a roadmap suggesting that she would chair the committee in person, and that the committee be launched within this month.

However, there will be no announcement on selection of members of the committee any time soon. A senior official at the presidential office said on Sunday, “With inter-Korean relations having deteriorated, we are not in the mood to inaugurate the presidential preparatory committee for national unification.” As such, the administration will likely keep low profile in preparing for the launch of the committee for the time being.

The official at the presidential office said, “We are continuing process to select committee members in order to be able to launch the committee anytime (if and when tension in inter-Korean relations is eased).” Attention is focusing on who will serve as the committee’s vice chair, who will comprehensively oversee working-level activities. Watchers in and outside the presidential office mention Kang In-deok, former unification minister. While serving as the director of North Korea affairs at the then (South) Korea central intelligence agency during the Park Chung-hee administration, Kang oversaw working-level activities for the July 4 South and North Korea Joint Statement in 1972. Kang served as vice minister during the Kim Dae-jung administration, and was named a member of the national security advisory group for President Park Geun-hye in July last year.

In its spokesman’s statement on Saturday, the North’s National Defense Commission criticized Park’s Dresden Declaration, saying, "(Dresden Declaration) is a logic based on unification through (the South’s) annexation (of the North), and is nonsensical remarks.” This constituted the North’s first response to Park’s declaration. Since the statement was issued by the National Defense Commission, the supreme governing body chaired by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, the response can be construed as reflecting Kim’s personal rejection of Park’s Dresden proposals.

The North also downplayed Park’s Korean Peninsula trust-building process, calling it “outdated signboard.” It lashed out abusive language, saying, “(She)’d better reflect upon lessons from doomed fate of the father, who died unnaturally due to the demolition of democracy and dictatorship through the Yushin (revitalizing reform) constitution.”