Lee Hoi-chang's Participation in Upcoming Summit

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Lee Hoi-chang's Participation in Upcoming Summit

Lee Hoi-chang, the leader of the Grand National Party (GNP), is focusing on North Korean issues in order to become a North Korea-savvy political leader for the next generation, said elected lawmaker and Lee's collegue, Yun Yo-jun. Yun participated in the preparatory talks for the proposed summit meeting between Kim Young-sam and Kim Il-sung in 1994. The summit was not realized due to Kim Il-sung's sudden death.

Yun predicted that South-North issues will dominate Korean politics in the future due to the upcoming summit in Pyongyang. Yun's prediction seems to indicate that a thorough knowledge of North Korean affairs will be expected in the nation's next presidential election.

Lee demonstrated his deep knowledge of North Korean affairs during his meeting with Kin Dae-jung last month, discussing at length various issues of import. Lee's colleagues have evluated Lee's knowledge of North Korea as equivalent to that of President Kim, a man that many consider a specialist. Recently, Lee reconfirmed his definition of the term 'reciprocity' as an 'optional' engagement policy.

Lee is strongly against the government's plan to include representatives from all three of the nation's parties in the delegation to travel to Pyongyang in June. Lee's reasoning is that such a move would mean a yielding of political power to the ruling party. Many members of the GNP share similar concerns. However, there are others that believe that unification should be depoliticized. Son Hak-gyu, member of the GNP, insisted that, "It is not wise to connect the unification issue with political interests. If the government officially requests that Lee Hoi-chang join the delegation, he should go." A deputy president of the GNP, Kim Deog-Ryong also stressed, "We need bipartisan cooperation."

A lawmaker from Pusan expressed his worries, staring that, "If Lee approaches this situation with the aim of accquiring a leading position, he may be perceived as narrow-minded." He also said that, "We have to show our bipartisan cooperation regarding the North."

by Lee Su-ho

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