[EDITORIALS]North nosing around againIn line with a demand by the Millennium Democratic Party that President Roh Moo-hyun veto a bill that would lay the groundwork for the naming of an independent counsel to investigate secret money transfers to North Korea, Pyeongyang is demanding that such an inquiry should not proceed.
Although it is not likely the sides consulted each other, the juxtaposition of the demands is confusing. The North Korean side explicitly expressed its intention to intervene in Seoul’s internal affairs by strongly demanding: “The money transfer to North Korea can never be the subject of judicial review.” The government should strongly protest the North’s remark.
Last week, the North’s Committee for the Peaceful Unification of the Fatherland issued a statement saying, “Forcing an independent counsel to look into the money transfer would freeze inter-Korean relations.” On Sunday, the Asia-Pacific peace council of North Korea made plain its intention to intervene in the South’s judicial system and create an atmosphere promoting divisions within South Korean society. What the North demands also runs counter to the inter-Korean basic agreement signed in 1991, which proclaimed non-interference in each other’s internal politics.
The Asia-Pacific council has insisted that business between the North and Hyundai Group was a “favor” to the South and Hyundai. Although business between the two governments and businesses in the South and the North are commercial deals, the North has been insisting it is giving benefits to the South. Its claim that the opening of Mount Geumgang has allowed the reunion of more than 3,000 separated family members makes clear North Korea’s view on inter-Korean relations. Although family reunions are a humanitarian issue, the North see it as a by-product of inter-Korean economic deals.
The North claims that the United States and ultra-rightists in the South have raised the money transfer issue to obstruct cooperation between the Asia-Pacific council and Hyundai. The North should stop intervening in the South’s internal matters and threatening it while embracing Hyundai.