Inter-Korean Peace Concert CanceledThe 2000 International Music Concert for Peace that was slated for April 5 in Pyongyang has been canceled. According to one report, North Korea demanded that all expenses for the concert be paid in advance, despite having received $1 million from concert promoters.
South Koreans cannot help but be disappointed with the latest news. There were high hopes for the concert, which was to be a catalyst for cultural exchange and inter-Korean dialogue. Indeed, cultural exchange is as valuable as economic exchange in bringing the two countries together.
The fragile relationship on the Korean peninsula was brought to light by the cancelation of the goodwill concert, following a financial disagreement.
Seoul, which refused to meet North Korea's demands, will have a hard time in further negotiations with their counterparts to the north.
This is not the first time an inter-Korean project has fallen through. North Korea often sends its semi-official Asia-Pacific Peace Committe to represent its interests, while South Korea is represented by civic groups and entrepeneurs. With the north's political rhetoric and the south's monetary interests, it is no wonder the two have not seen eye-to-eye.
South Korea should establish an official channel to deal with the North Korean government and future projects should be conducted in a more transparent manner, agreeable to both sides. Without reform, other large-scale projects, including the North Korea investment project and the West Sea complex, will meet with the same fate that befell the peace concert.
by Jung Kyo-yong