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[EDITORIALS]Look north, Kim Dae-jung

Apr 25,2006
The nation's reaction is divided over former President Kim Dae-jung’s plan to visit North Korea in June.
Some hail the plan as a way to “promote peace inside the Korean Peninsula,” while others express worries, saying it will “widen the divisions among South Koreans.”
It is a good thing for a former president to try to solve the nation’s difficult issues. We hope that his visit to the North will start us down the road to resolving impending issues between the two Koreas without stirring conflict in the South.
There are several things, however, that we need to consider. First is that he should try not to have a “serious discussion” on ways to achieving reunification.
In the June 15 South-North Joint Declaration, there is a clause that reads as such: “There is a common element in the South's concept of a confederation and the North's formula for a loose form of federation.”
This part has brought trouble to our society because the North thought of this as a starting point for a federation.
If this part were to be discussed again, it would inevitably cause misunderstandings. This subject is not included on Mr. Kim’s agenda for this visit, but some people are worried because he has shown significant interest in the clause.
Therefore, he should clarify his stance on the issue and on the purpose of his visit. The former president and the current administration should conduct transparent negotiations with the North in the future, so that there will be no suspicions that this government might have provided assistance to the North.
The urgent issues between the two Koreas include resuming the six-party talks and bringing back those who were kidnapped by the North.
We hope that Mr. Kim will produce results on these issues and remain a former leader respected by all citizens.


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