So, They Kissed And Made Up

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So, They Kissed And Made Up

President Kim Dae-jung (DJ) and former president Kim Yong-sam (YS) had a long luncheon meeting for the first time in a long time at Chong Wa Dae. The former president's side says that they talked till their voices grew hoarse.

With expressions like 'dominance,' 'positions that should be resigned,' and'political revenge,' it seems that YS had said everything that was on his mind. It is said that the President Kim replied "If you, as my predeccesor, felt displeased, then I should apologize for I must have been wrong." Maybe this is why YS's side are so satisfied saying, "Now that I have said everything, I feel so relieved."

It was hoped that this occasion would be the opportunity for the former and present presidents to narrow their differences, privatly and officially, and share their wisdom on national topics. In this perspective, the fact that one of them said he 'felt' relieved for having said everything and one apologized politely could mean that the meeting could be considered successful, at least partly.

However as for the public, who watched the meeting, they cannot help but feel somewhat unsatisfied. The problems that YS mentioned, including the opression of the press and the changing of alliance by the opposition party members, are pending public problems directly related to the present political situation. These topics are not some private issue that can be solved by talking them over in a luncheon meeting. These are real issues that can worsen in the near future. What I am saying is that these topics cannot be solved by one of the men saying what is on his mind and one apologizing. They should be discussed in the open.

Of course, if rough and tense conversations were conducted, it would't do the public any good either. We have to just try to be satisfied with the fact that they have reconciled whatever their problems were, reconfirmed their friendship, and promised to call each other often and have conversations frequently.

Still,it is only fair that some productive conversations for the sake of the people should be conducted. After all, this was a meeting of the former and the current president. If a problem which had created some personal thought was raised, a more detailed reply on how to solve the issue should have come out. If one said there was a big problem with political revenge, some sort of resolution to prevent this from happening again should have been discussed.

In this meeting, the problems that were supposed to have been discussed in depth were covered with just some intense listening and an apology. If the apology was only a way to silence the malicious tongue of YS, then this meeting should only be considered a private reconciliation of the two men.

One useful thing did result from this meeting, the agreement to make progress towards leading the summit meeting to a successful completion.

Nobody thinks that just because the two Kims, comrades in the democratizing days, came toghether that their golden age will start again. Still, meetings held in Chong Wa Dae shoud not be treated merely as a chance to kiss and make up. I hope that the two political veterans will take this opportunity to improve conversation between themselves and take care to discuss public issues next time.

by Joo Jung-wan

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