[EDITORIALS]Pyongyang's Manipulations

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[EDITORIALS]Pyongyang's Manipulations

North and South Korean labor unions recently drafted a manifesto calling for an inter-Korean labor forum for unification. In the draft, the union leaders advocated a unification formula based on "one people, one nation, two systems and two independent governments." That unification formula is basically the North's unification demand. In the North's proposal, "one nation" means a federation, and "two governments" mean regional self-governments.

In the June 15 South-North Joint Declaration, the two Koreas agreed that there is a common element in the South's call for a confederation and the North's proposal for a loose form of federation. The Kim administration explained that by proposing a loose form of federation, the North has come closer to the South's proposal and stepped back from its own. The South's proposal is for coexistence and the establishment of an environment for unification; it proposes no federation with self-governing bodies.

The core of the South-North Joint Declaration is inter-Korean talks. The North has postponed talks but approached civilian groups to negotiate a unification formula; that is a strategy to split the government and the people in the South. The North called supporters of the South-North Joint Declaration "advocates of unification," and labeled protesters against the declaration as an anti-unification group, fueling conflict in the South. North Korea should stop such actions. The spirit of the inter-Korean joint declaration is reconciliation, cooperation, coexistence and co-prosperity. Pyongyang should not discourage South Korean citizens who support inter-Korean reconciliation and cooperation but not the specific unification formula it advocates.

Seoul's ambiguous pronouncements are also a problem. It has neglected its responsibility to outline the unification proposals in detail; while it stresses what it says are commonalities with Pyongyang's position, it has ignored the differences. How many of our people have a real understanding of the two proposals?

The government should make clear to Pyongyang its concern about the recent labor manifesto. Seoul also must draw the proper conclusions from the North's manipulation of our civilian organizations while it focused only on luring Kim Jong-il to visit here.
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