[EDITORIALS]Another insult from NorthNorth Korea's affront to South Korea is an absolutely unacceptable indignity. For five years, through constant controversy, the Kim Dae-jung administration pushed its engagement policy toward North Korea. In the end it has been humiliated before the world. The North Korean leader Kim Jong-il did not see the South Korean presidential envoy, Lim Dong-won, who was carrying the president's letter. Mr. Kim offered the excuse that he was touring the countryside.
The two Koreas had agreed on the envoy's visit based on the condition that Mr. Lim would meet Kim Jong-il. Mr. Lim made clear, that this was his mission. Accompanying Mr. Lim was a scholar carrying a message from President-elect Roh Moo-hyun.
The two Koreas differ over resolving the nuclear issue; thus, the outcome of the talks was a separate matter from the meeting's taking place. The North broke its promise. We believe the broken promise shows everything about its attitude toward the South. No matter what its excuse, standing up the envoy was clearly an unacceptable insult.
What perplexes and enrages us even more was the returning envoy's remark. "Rather than disappointed, I just feel unsatisfied" that President Kim's letter had to be delivered indirectly. Mr. Lim was still trying to embrace the North, but he had no consideration for our people's anger and shame. It made us wonder if the envoy was working for the South or the North. With this attitude, it is no wonder that he failed to meet Kim Jong-il and that North Korea has been giving the cold shoulder to the South, insisting that the issue is between itself and Washington.
The new Roh government should learn a lesson. It must study objectively this regime that ignores international norms. The Roh administration should base its North Korea policy on this lesson. If the new government tries to continue the engagement policy through bolder approaches based on emotional nationalism, it will hit obstacles at home and abroad. And North Korea will continue to look down on the South.