[EDITORIAL] Post-Summit Assessment

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[EDITORIAL] Post-Summit Assessment

The results of the first Kim-Bush summit suggest that North Korea policy will give Seoul considerable difficulties not only with the United States but also with North Korea. Seoul has two tasks: It must divine the meaning of the U.S.'s North Korea policy and come up with a swift and
adequate response, and it should persuade Pyongyang to cooperate with the agreed policy.

President Kim Dae-jung and PresidentGeorge W. Bush reconfirmed the importance of the Korea-U.S alliance and the maintenance of the 1994 U.S.-North Korea Geneva Agreed Framework. President Bush expressed support for South Korea's engagement policy and President Kim's leading role in North Korea issues. This is the expected ixagreement on generalities,ln an achievement in itself because it ended
rumors of conflict between the two nations over North Korea policy.

The problem is that little progress was made the question of whether North Korea has changed or the possibility that it will change, a question about which President Kim hoped to persuade President Bush to his point of view. Mr.Kim went to the United States for 'frank and candid' dialogue to ensure the smooth sailing of South Korea's North Korea policy and induce the United States to adopt a North Korea policy in line with his own. The central premise for Mr.Kim's attempt at persuasion is that North Korea changing, or at least is attempting to change.
But it appears that Mr. Bush thwarted President Kim's efforts by making it clear that he suspicious of a North Korea policy that takes North Korea's change as a foregone conclusion.

Mr. Bush repeatedly emphasized preconditions:Transparency is needed in negotiations and agreements and a verification system must be in place to give assurance that North Korea has changed. These could be major stumbling blocks for the U.S.-DPRK agreement on the North.s nuclear program and negotiations on North Korean missiles. As South Korea.s policy toward Pyongyang is closely related with the U.S. policy, the stalemate in North Korea-U.S. relations will likely slow down any advancement in inter-Korean relations. Given the structural circumstances on the Korean Peninsula, it is evident that South Korea cannot push an independent North Korea policy without the understanding and
backing of the United States. It is a fact, even if South Korea and the United States should take on different roles . the so-called "priest" and "cop" in North Korea policy.

Therefore, to reassure the United States, the South Korean government needs to make North Korea policy more transparent and revamp its
national security team. This is the first step to establish peace on the Korean Peninsula by smoothing the ruffled feathers of the United States and North Korea. The national security team should be replaced because they complacently judged that the Bush administration would inherit the Clinton administration.s North Korea policy and thereby invited U.S. suspicions.

The government must explain to North Korea that an advancement in North Korea-U.S. relations is not only beneficial to North Korea but also key to the two Koreas. reconciliation and cooperation. The government must educate the North to the reality that only after North Korea
dispels the concerns of the international community will the United States move and Western assistance follow . not only Western assistance but help from the South, free of U.S. i.impediments.ln At the same time, the government should promote its North Korea policy based on a national consensus here.

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