[EDITORIALS]Resume Inter-Korean Talks

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[EDITORIALS]Resume Inter-Korean Talks

The hope of inter-Korean talks, expected to be resumed in July, has come and gone. North Korea promised in June to re-open inter-Korean talks about the Mount Kumgang tour business by July on the condition that the North would receive overdue payment of $22 million. However, the North hushed up that promise. The South Korean government could have urged the North to keep the promise, but it did not make such an attempt.

The North, which snatched its own interests, is now irritating the South. Kim Jong-il, North Korea's leader and its National Defense Commission Chairman, was interviewed by the Itar-Tass News Agency before his recent visit to Russia, and said that the United States occupied the half of the Korean Peninsula by using its armed power. By makings an absurd assertion that the U.S. occupies South Korea by force, Kim Jong-il degraded the existence of South Korea. His absurd remark can be excused as a flourish to emphasize the U.S. threat on Pyongyang, but it can also represent the North's view on Seoul in essence.

Pyongyang's argument that the United States forcefully occupies the South is an extreme distortion of the facts, so we see no need for a further explanation. The North is clearly responsible for calling back the U.S. Army to the peninsula as it initiated armed aggression against the South. Yet the North ran Seoul down by arguing that the South is under the rule of the United States, bringing inter-Korean relations to a standstill. Although the North demands inter-Korean cooperation whenever it feels necessity, it commits such absurdities as putting inter-Korean relations subordinate to U.S.-North Korea relations. That is nothing more than a manifestation of toadyism.

Yet Seoul looked on Pyongyang's wrongful awareness with folded arms, and just hoped to resume inter-Korean talks. Seoul should no longer try to persuade the United States only to realize an engagement policy toward the North. Instead, it should firmly urge Pyongyang that inter-Korean cooperation should come before U.S.-North Korean relations. The North should accept U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell' s call for a meeting at any time and anywhere, without preconditions. Most of all, Pyongyang should resume the inter-Korean talks, which had been discontinued for five months, as soon as possible.
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