[EDITORIALS]3 Principles Decision Gutless

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[EDITORIALS]3 Principles Decision Gutless

Attendance by some South Korean delegation members at North Korea's "Memorial Tower of Three Charters for National Reunification" is the result of a spineless decision by the South Korean government. The government should now disclose why it reversed a decision to suddenly allow the South Korean delegation to attend the joint event in Pyongyang, on the condition that South Koreans are not to go to the monument site. Furthermore, the government should warn North Koreans to prevent such happenings in the future.

As a way to jointly celebrate Korea's Liberation Day, North Korea proposed that the joint ceremony be held in front of the Memorial Tower of Three Charters in Pyongyang. The three charters are the July 4 South-North Joint Communique of 1972, the Founding Proposal for a Democratic Confederal Republic of Koryo of 1980 and the 10-Point Program of the Great Unity of the Whole Nation, announced at the 1993 Supreme Peoples' Assembly of North Korea. The monument, erected in tribute to the three charters, symbolizes North Korea's policy line on reunification. And South Korea's participation at the tower signals that the South recognizes and commonly shares these principles. Thus, those reasons explained why Seoul firmly refused to issue a permit for the South Korean delegation to visit the tower on Tuesday. But the refusal held for only half a day, and the government retracted its decision, dubiously explaining that the North seemed to have repealed its earlier proposal.

Government officials try to rationalize their decision by explaining that the organizers of the North and the South exchanged faxed messages about the matter. But when the South Korean delegation arrived in Pyongyang, North Korea repeated its initial proposal and some from the southern delegation went along with the North Korean authorities. The government should clarify whether it knew that the co-sponsorship proposal was later revised to include the South side's participation and if it tacitly approved the change. If the reason was solely to hold onto a window of negotiations with North Korea or to anticipate North Korean leader Kim Jong-il's visit to Seoul, that is something that the public cannot understand. It is time that the government coldly examine its North Korean policy.
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