South Government Should Provide a Clear ExplanationThe North Korean government-run Korean Central Broadcasting Station suddenly aired a clip June 20 of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il asserting, ＂I can not at all permit the reform and opening of our country.”
Because this clip of Kim Jong-il was filmed perhaps last year or a few years ago, it is perplexing to contemplate why the KCBS ran such a speech at this time, when the inter-Korea relationship is so harmonious following the historic summit talks.
On the same day, Pyongyang Broadcasting affirmed the unification formula of federation while emphasizing the three principles of unification mentioned in the 4 July 1972 South-North Joint Communique: ‘Independence, peace and great racial unity.’ The North has essentially superimposed its past idea onto a clause in the 6.15 Joint Declaration that the South insists is a considerable achievement of the recent summit talks.
North Korea, through its broadcasting networks, repeatedly stresses to both domestic and international viewers its past convictions on all policy regarding reform and opening. The policy can be analyzed as follows:
First, North Korea wants to send a message to South Korea.
The South Korean press has focused its summit reports on the positive points achieved, and has reported this from many different vantage points. The press has eagerly attempted to comprehend Kim Jong-il＇s will, and has reached a consensus that what North Korea and Kim Jong-il have displayed during the summit is the wish to reform and open up their country.
The South‘s press corps concluded that Norea Korea accepted South Korea＇s proposal of confederation. Regarding the concept of ＇independence＇, the official viewpoint of the South Korean government is that it connotes the ＇principle of resolving differences strictly between the concerned parties＇ rather than ‘depending on foreign powers and being subject to foreign interference,’ as stated in the 4 July,1972 Joint Communique.
Judging by recent reports, North Korea may intend to disrupt these conclusions of South Korea＇s.
Second, suppressive action may be taken against the citizens of North Korea by the government.
In the South ＇Kim Jong-il-Shock＇ has shaken and confused the public‘s perceptions of North Korea. The North’s ＇Summit-Talks-Shock＇ might be more troublesome for their government to control.
Because North Korea is a more controlled society than South Korea, events like the sudden first-ever reference to a South president as ＇President of the Republic of Korea＇ on a TV network, and the gathering of hundreds of thousands of people to welcome the South Korea delegation, might serve as a great shock to the hitherto submerged-society of North Korea.
The North Korean government,consequently, might judge it necessary to cool down the ＇Summit-Talks-Shock,＇ in order to maintain social stability.
The recent explanation and analysis by North Korea on the summit‘s Joint Declaration might indicate that there are more than a few differences in the conclusions reached by the two parties following the summit. Differences exist not only in basic attitudes about the unification method, but also in respective interpretations of various clauses of the agreement.
These differences could result in the same type of confusion that beset previous agreements between the South and North.
If the opening of North Korea proves to be other than what we expected,or North Korea does not change at all, we cannot help but raise the questions: What is the spirit of the agreement? What is the purpose of the agreement?
The public needs a clear explanation of these issues. The responsibility to provide this is the government’s.
by Shin Sung-sik