Fertilizer Aid to North Smells SuspiciousThe government's decision to send 200,000 tons of fertilizer to North Korea, without an official request for such aid from the Stalinist state, raises the question of the administration's motives behind the move.
An official from the South's Ministry of Unification says that the aid is in accordance with a previous agreement with the North and that the timing is in line with the planting season.
However, the fertilizer shipment has stirred up suspicions of political maneuvering. Last year's agreement for aid was delayed by the South following a stalemate in talks over the issue of separated families in the two countries. With an estimated cost of over $28 million to Seoul, why has the administration agreed to put it back on track?
Their true motives are yet unknown and the public wonders if there are conditions attached to the aid on the eve of the summit meeting between the leaders of the two countries.
Regardless, South Koreans should not have to carry the burden of their elected officials' decision. The public recognizes the value of the aid, supported by major international organizations, and the promotion of South Korean businesses in the North. However, full disclosure and transparency should be a part of the process.
Finally, North Korea must respond to these gestures with a spirit of reconciliation and understanding.
by Shin Jung-don