[EDITORIALS]Japan on sunshine express

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[EDITORIALS]Japan on sunshine express

The Japan-North Korea summit meeting on Tuesday confirmed that the sunshine policy toward North Korea is being recognized internationally. The meeting also showed that there is a possibility that issues surrounding the Korean Peninsula could be discussed in full with multilateral participation. We should pay attention to the fact that the visit to the North by Japan's prime minister, Junichi Koizumi, is not confined to bilateral relations between Tokyo and Pyeongyang.

First of all, it can be said that the summit resulted from the Korean government's sunshine policy of engagement with the North. The Japanese government has also acknowledged that the summit could take place under the auspices of President Kim Dae-jung. Although there are voices underestimating the sunshine policy since the return visit to South Korea by Kim Jong-il, the North Korean leader, still has not happened, it is difficult to deny that the Japan-North Korea summit is an "unexpected outcome'"of the engagement policy.

Following Tuesday's summit meeting in Pyeongyang, talks on the normalization of relations between Japan and North Korea are expected to open soon. Talks between the United States and the North are also looming. It is anticipated that issues related to the Korean Peninsula will be diversified and multiply with the participation of both Koreas and their neighbors. The six-party talks, an idea circulated in Tokyo before Tuesday's summit, is more likely to attract attention as a channel for multilateral dialogue and discussions, in addition to the existing four-party conference on peace and stability in Northeast Asia.

As a member of the Korea Energy Development Organization and the Tri-lateral Coordination and Oversight Group for North Korea policy, which include the United States and South Korea, Japan has raised its voice, securing opportunity to strengthen its position.

The standard for evaluating the outcome of the summit should be whether it contributed to inducing the North to more openness. In its talks with the North on such issues as addressing Japan's past wrongdoings, resolving issues on North Korea's weapons of mass destruction and securing regional security in Northeast Asia, Japan should maintain close consultations with South Korea.
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