[EDITORIALS]Clouds in the Sunshine PolicyPresident Kim Dae-jung recently made a series of announcements saying that he would not push a North Korea policy excessively. "I have no intention to complete the resolution of problems between North and South Korea during my tenure," Mr. Kim said Saturday in his meeting with leaders of seven major religious organizations in the Blue House. "I plan to carry out the 'sunshine policy' consistently, but not forcefully," Mr. Kim said Friday in Ulsan. We welcome such comments from Mr. Kim, considering that these remarks may be based on introspection of criticism over a lack of consensus in promoting the so-called sunshine policy and on a hasty execution of that policy.
An ideal for the sunshine policy is good, but the policy yielded little accomplishments compared to the amount of effort, the opposition parties say. The sunshine policy resulted in confusion over a relationship with our ally, they say. But if Mr. Kim's recent comments aimed to announce giving up on the policy toward North Korea, we have no choice but to express worry. The people's hope for the establishment of peace and unification of the Korean Peninsula through interchange and cooperation with North Korea is still intact, and so are separated families' will and passion for a reunification.
Mr. Kim's remarks should not indicate a setback for the past policy toward reconciliation between the North and the South due to a disappointment with the current political situation or a lack of progress from the policy. The investment and effort for reunification should never be considered a waste, and a policy toward easing of tensions through reconciliation and collaboration between the North and the South should be continued. Criticism of the sunshine policy rose from a lack of consensus and institutionalization. An attempt to find a breakthrough in domestic politics through an eventful surprise can also be subject to criticism.
Mr. Kim should focus on the permanent establishment of an institutional and consensual conference body through full-scale operation of economic cooperation and the founding of a standing military committee. Then the policy toward North Korea can become a foundation for reconciliation and cooperation, and not a short-term policy to gain popularity.