Gov’t Officials Vie for Ticket to Pyongyang

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Gov’t Officials Vie for Ticket to Pyongyang

With only 18 days remaining until the Pyongyang Summit, a high-ranking government official is reportedly having a hard time completing the list of delegates who will attend the historic talks.

Government officials are scrambling for the few remaining tickets to Pyongyang. What is more interesting and somewhat strange is that government officials who are not even directly involved in the summit talks, such as the Ministry of Finance and Economy, are joining the fray.

The government should be applauded for their efforts to send a substantial posse to North Korea in the hopes of resolving issues at the summit. However, those who are coveting a seat on the plane should first consider their usefulness at these talks - spots should be reserved for North Korean specialists.

The success of the summit is riding on the groundwork laid by the advance team who will visit Pyongyang on May 31. The presence of North Korea-savvy specialists on this advance trip will be necessary to court Kim Jong-il, the National Defense Committee Chairman, who could visit the South after the Pyongyang summit.

South Korea has been criticized for its haphazard efforts to cultivate men of talent on North Korean issues. This owes to frequent personnel transfers and changes in regimes in the country. The situation has the few existing specialists worried, as more and more non-specialists jump on the summit bandwagon.

The Ministry of National Defense and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade are locking horns over the 30 spots on the advance team, as well as the vacant seat of chief on the advance team.

The plane to Pyonyang for the summit in June will only seat the 130 that have already been decided upon and approximately 50 more. The hopes of Koreans and their dreams for reunification are riding on the shoulders of these delegates.
The curtains are being drawn, it is time for government officials to examine their usefulness and step aside if necessary.

by Lee Yong-jong

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