[EDITORIALS]What the North should do

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[EDITORIALS]What the North should do

At his meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi on Tuesday, the North Korean leader Kim Jong-il admitted and apologized for kidnapping Japanese nationals and for operating spy ships in Japan's territorial waters. Mr. Kim promised that such incidents will not happen again. We welcome that Mr. Kim resolved pending issues with Japan; we hereby urge that he make the same decisions on similar matters involving South Korea. Seoul should learn lessons from Tokyo's diplomacy; the government should also put its best efforts into resolving issues about Pyeongyang's provocations against the South, and its detainment of South Korean fishermen and prisoners of war.

North Korea admitted that it had kidnapped a Japanese woman, Yayeko Taguchi, called by the Korean name Lee Eun-hye. Ms. Lee reportedly taught Japanese language and customs to one of the Korean Air bombers of 1987. Thus, the North revealed that the 1987 Korean Air bombing was its work, despite denials. The North had persisted that the allegation of Pyeongyang's terror is Seoul's political plot.

Mr. Kim further admitted that abductions of Japanese civilians were done by North Korea's special intelligence agency to train agents for South Korea operations. North Korea, therefore, must speak truthfully to the South and apologize for its 1983 bombing of a Korean delegation in Aungsan Mausoleum, Myanmar, and for the KAL jet bombing, as well as numerous abductions of South Korean fishing boats. The North, as it has done to Japan, must pledge that no similar incident recur.

Pyeongyang should free 486 South Korean prisoners of war and other detainees. Mr. Kim told Mr. Koizumi that a special military unit is responsible for spy boat operations in Japanese waters and that he had already punished the unit. We demand the same measure for those responsible for the recent sea border clash.

If the North intends to apply different standards to South Korea and to Japan regarding similar issues, that clearly violates the North's long-standing nationalist line. The North, as it has done to Japan, should begin the official process of liquidating its past wrongdoing to the South as soon as possible. When the two Koreas rationally deal with past, the people of the two countries will become one.

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