[EDITORIALS]Concessions must be made

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[EDITORIALS]Concessions must be made

The United States will soon send an envoy to North Korea in the midst of changes that indicate the North is moving toward reform. Both Pyeongyang and Washington should recognize the symbolic importance of the meeting and be prepared to give concessions to each other. If the high-level talks are concluded successfully, a summit meeting between the leaders of the two countries will materialize, and that will support North Korea's reforms and its efforts to open its doors to the outside world.

Since it launched a series of reform measures, North Korea has adopted a more flexible stance toward Seoul. It has announced the innovative Sinuiju development progam, and has resolved contentious issues with Japan through the Japan-North Korea summit meeting.

In view of recent measures taken by the North, it is expected that Pyeongyang will make major policy revisions regarding its relations with Washington.

More than anything else, Pyeongyang should comply with the U.S. demand that it clarify suspicions about its development and export of nuclear weapons, as well as concerns about its production of bio-chemical and other conventional arms. It should present a plan to reduce such weaponry. As long as the North fails to dismiss such suspicions, the chances of its reforms succeeding are low. It would be wise for Pyeongyang to promote sweeping solutions and demand compensation in return.

Washington should not insist on hard-line pressure tactics against North Korea. Flexibility is needed in negotiations. With the North about to join in the international community, the United States must deal on a "give and take" basis.

It is time for Washington to prepare a draft for negotiations by deleting North Korea from the list of rogue countries, making it possible for the North to get international financial support and allow the export of state-of-the-art technology to the North.

When the North opens its doors to the United States, as it did to Japan, and Washington responds to Pyeongyang's prelude with flexibility, the improved relations between the two will ease tensions on the Korean Peninsula.
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