[EDITORIALS]The Bungling of a Talk Site

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[EDITORIALS]The Bungling of a Talk Site

It is sad that the government has flip-flopped its stance again and again on the site for the sixth ministerial-level talks between North and South Korea. Since such talks were already held in Seoguipo - in addition to Seoul - in the South, there is no reason for the talks not to be held at Mount Geumgang in the North. We cannot understand why the government stubbornly insisted on Pyeongyang for the talks. Then the government revised its proposal and said yes to either Pyeongyang or Mount Myohyang, after being worn down by North Korea's consistent arguing. The government finally agreed with North Korea to have the talks at Mount Geumgang, bringing us back to where it started.

This useless war of attrition and wasted efforts is only strengthening North Korea's stance. If the government had confronted North Korea on substantial issues, like establishing reunion places for separated families, the people would have understood the government. It was wrong from the start that the government took issue with the place of the talks, which had already been decided alternately by the side which prepares the talks. The government has to ponder coolly whether it has been dragged along by the North, since it approached negotiations with the North without any overriding principles.

The government seemed to decide on such a stance because the North insisted also on Mount Geumgang as the place for other talks, which are supposed to be held by the South. All the more, the government should have accepted Mount Geumgang as the place for the sixth ministerial talks and asked other places in the South to be the site for other talks, corresponding with principles and reasons. The government explanation, that it decided to accept Mount Geumgang for the talks because the stalemate of inter-Korean relations would postpone the family reunion further, sounds too strained. The government should stick to principles in its dialogue with the North.
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