[EDITORIAL] Kim-Bush Summit Talks

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[EDITORIAL] Kim-Bush Summit Talks

It is encouraging that the summit talks between Kim Dae-jung and George W. Bush will take place in Washington at an early date, March 8, because the meeting is expected to have substantial influence over South Korea's North Korea policy. Since the launch of the Bush administration, the two nations have seen eye to eye when it comes to the keystone large framework ?the maintenance of a traditional friendly alliance and the continued policy of reconciliation and cooperation toward North Korea. However, President Bush himself and his administration's security lineup strike a more hard-line tenor in foreign and national security policy than the Clinton administration, giving rise to concerns that the United States and South Korea may clash in dealing with the specifics of North Korea policy and bilateral relations.

For this reason, it is extremely essential for Mr. Kim and Mr. Bush to get together at an early date and talk things over, taking each other's stance into consideration. This will help dispel any possible misunderstanding and guarantee unswerving cooperation in North Korea policy. President Kim hopes to institute peace on the Korean Peninsula on the occasion of the return visit to Seoul by the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-il, and based on such a foundation he intends to lift inter-Korean cooperation to a higher level. Therefore, he is faced with a difficult task of explaining to Mr. Bush the progress in inter-Korean relations and drawing out his understanding and cooperation.

In this respect, the key agenda for the coming summit is the clarification of the two presidents' positions on North Korea's nuclear program and missiles, to which the Bush administration is casting a suspicious eye, and the understanding of North Korea's reform and opening up. President Kim would do well to bring President Bush around and reach a joint stance that ensures a win-win situation for the North, the South and the United States. It might be a good idea for President Kim to fine-tune with North Korea behind the scenes before he leaves for Washington to show off his confidence that he will be able to trigger a peace settlement on the peninsula and North Korea's about-face toward reform and opening on the occasion of Chairman Kim's visit to Seoul.

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