[EDITORIALS]Review Policies With NorthThe chaos surrounding the Grand Festival for National Reunification, held in Pyongyang, North Korea, while inter-Korean dialogue remains in a stalemate, showed us clearly that now is the time for Seoul to comprehensively review its North Korean policies.
If South Korea's policies toward North Korea, which aim at transforming confrontation into peace, instead provokes friction among South Korean people, we find it reasonable to analyze the appropriateness of the policies and to revise the ills.
To overcome the ideological division and military confrontation on the Korean Peninsula, we believe the policies to embrace North Korea and to boost exchange and cooperation between South and North based on peaceful coexistence, should be promoted. Thus, we have supported the fundamental frame of the government's policies toward North Korea.
But the meek attitude of the government, which has been dragged by the unilateral South Korean policies by Pyongyang, unchanged attitude of North Korea, and resulting extreme conflict within South Korean society compel us to be skeptical about Seoul's policies. We can say that the skepticism against the South Korean government's North Korean policies was dramatically exuded in a series of controversial acts by the South Korean delegation to the festival in Pyongyang.
Seoul has said that during the inter-Korean summit, Pyongyang had promised to give up on its desire for withdrawal of U.S. troops stationed in South Korea, its demand for Seoul to accept its federation-based unification theory and its insistence on scrapping anti-Communist National Security Law by Seoul. The South Korean government also said the North Korean government promised to revise articles of the Workers' Party Charter related to causing "social revolution" in South Korea. These promises exemplified how North Korea was changing. And they are the essence of the logic behind the government's urg to help them. But we cannot find any evidence that North Korea indeed changed since the inter-Korean summit. The North Korean leader Kim Jong-il stated that he hoped U.S. troops would leave as soon as possible during his visit to Russia. Pyongyang has not revised the articles of the Worker's Party Charter yet. Seoul's theory that North Korea is changing is groundless.
Instead, North Korea is promoting its federation unification theory. The festival held in Pyongyang can be interpreted as part of its scheme. During the summit last year, the leaders of both Koreas agreed to promote unification of the two countries based on the commonalties between Seoul's confederation system-based unification theory and Pyongyang's federation system-based unification theory. But Seoul has failed to do what was naturally expected following the agreement. It has neither explained in detail what are the common characteristics or differences of unification theories of the two Koreas nor tried to discuss it publicly. So people were left confused and there was no means for Seoul to sanction those who openly talk about accepting North Korea's theory. Using that opportunity, pro-North figures tried to defeat the right and the conservative, expanding friction among South Koreans.
The government Monday held a National Security Council meeting and decided to take necessary action on members of the delegation to the Pyongyang festival, after an investigation. But the government failed to put first things first and punish those responsible in the government.