[EDITORIALS]South Korean unanimity

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[EDITORIALS]South Korean unanimity

The Blue House meeting with President Kim Dae-jung and the presidential hopefuls on North Korea's nuclear development established that the program is an "urgent issue on which our existence depends." Until now, it had been viewed from some parts of society as a hide-and-seek game between North Korea and the United States. Instead of denouncing the betrayal of North Korea in using our help to build weapons that could bring the mutual destruction of our people, we complacently worried about our "sunshine policy" getting tarnished.

The meeting provided a welcome opportunity to denounce North Korea's nuclear development as "absolutely unacceptable." It was a suprapartisan message of warning to the Kim Jong-il regime. Despite differences of detail in the solutions proposed by the leaders, the message showed a firm South Korean determination not to silently accept the nuclear program. North Korea should understand that the anger and apprehension of the entire South Korean population is now engaged, regardless of internal political strife.

The Kim Dae-jung administration must use this meeting as leverage to induce North Korea to give up its nuclear program. It must explain to the North that "freezing financial aid that could be used for nuclear development" and "doubts whether [Pyeongyang] was a genuine partner of dialogue" were discussed at the meeting.

All those running in this year's presidential election were in accord that North Korea's nuclear weapons program must be "solved peacefully through talks." The continuation of such suprapartisan cooperation and wisdom is essential to prevent a crisis on the Korean Peninsula. The administration must place its priorities on solving the issue of North Korea's nuclear development and not on the "sunshine" part. It must consider temporarily halting some aid projects to North Korea while actively mobilizing talk channels with Pyeongyang. The candidates must also refrain from using the issue of North Korea's nuclear program in their campaign strategies.
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