[EDITORIALS]It is not an article of faith

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[EDITORIALS]It is not an article of faith

Rodong Sinmun, the newspaper put out by the Korea Workers Party in the North, greatly modified on Thursday North Korea's interpretation of Article 2 of the June 15 North-South Joint Declaration, which has been seriously debated in the South. The article addresses the way the Korean Peninsula should be unified. Radio stations in Pyeongyang had emphasized until early this year that Article 2 clearly shows that the South agrees with North Korea's method of unification. But the Rodong Sinmun report says, "It does not mean that the North and the South completely agreed on the way the Koreas would be unified, but that they agreed to pursue unification actively by acknowledging common points in each other's unification policies."

Why now has the North changed its interpretation of Article 2? Recently Lee Hoi-chang, the presidential candidate of the Grand National Party, said, "If the North keeps saying that Article 2 is about agreement with North Korea's way of unification, and if I am elected president, it can be reviewed." After the statement, a big controversy erupted between the ruling and opposition parties. The North has harshly criticized Mr. Lee for the statement. In the course of its criticism, it retreated from its earlier interpretation and supported the government's position. The GNP said the North's move is intended to intervene in the South's elections. The North made us suspicious of them by unilaterally interpreting the article and changing its interpretation without explaining why.

We also doubt if the North really changed its interpretation of the article since the new interpretation appears in a column under a commentator's byline. The previous one was also presented and carried by media not by the North Korean government. So we can assume that the North did change its interpretation of the article. Whether the North changed it for domestic purposes or for the South, it should stop stirring up unnecessary trouble by distorting the content of the inter-Korean agreement. In that sense at least we can positively say that the North's change can end the controversy over the interpretation of the article between the North and the South.
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