[EDITORIALS]Hooray for North's policy

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[EDITORIALS]Hooray for North's policy

The situation regarding North Korea is changing rapidly. North Korea's leader, Kim Jong-il, held a meeting this month with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin. Japan's prime minister, Junichiro Koizumi, will visit Mr. Kim in Pyeongyang on Sept. 17. There are unconfirmed reports that the North Korean leader is going to pay a second visit to China and hints that he would make his long-promised return visit to the South during the Busan Asian Games, which leads observers to ponder whether the two Koreas have struck a secret agreement.

The resumption of inter-Korean dialogue through various channels and talks among North Korea and neighboring countries will have a positive impact on the quest for political stability in the Korean Peninsula. In this sense, Mr. Koizumi's proposal to hold a summit meeting to establish a turning point for resolving pending issues and wrap up talks for signing a treaty of amity between the two countries is praiseworthy.

North Korea's about-face came to light at an inter-Korean ministerial conference and during economic cooperation talks. Its decision to participate in the Busan Asian Games was a strong signal. For the North's economic reforms to succeed, it desperately needs the help of other countries, which probably prompted them to open up. The agreements of the inter-Korean economic talks that ended Thursday are thought to be based on Pyeongyang's will to translate talks into action. But the greatest significance of the agreement is that it will likely serve as the first tangible move to ease military tensions and restore a state of full peace in the peninsula.

The relinking of the highway and railroad that pass the eastern and western areas of the Demilitarized Zone is a historic event, a sign of closure of the sorrow of separation.

Pyeongyang should be more open to the world and implement inter-Korean agreements without fail. It should do its utmost to end the legacy of the Cold War, which has lingered in the Korean Peninsula. The United States and Japan should provide cooperation and support corresponding with the North's new policy.
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