&#91EDITORIALS&#93Shut up and send food!

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&#91EDITORIALS&#93Shut up and send food!

North Korea asked the South yesterday to provide rice and fertilizer as humanitarian aid. The request came one day after the news that North Korea, China and the United States would meet to resolve North Korean nuclear issues, with South Korea excluded.
We have continuously supported humanitarian aid to North Korea. But we cannot be silent about North Korea’s shamelessness in asking for rice and fertilizer after making clear that it does not see South Korea as a dialogue partner.
Until now, South Korea has never ignored North Korea’s requests for humanitarian and economic assistance, despite some criticisms and objections here. Even when a crisis was looming on the Korean Peninsula due to North Korea’s nuclear aspirations, the South made clear that it would not tolerate any economic sanctions on the North or any military action against the North. That stance even brought about strains in the South Korea-U.S. alliance.
And yet, North Korea insisted on excluding the South from the discussion of nuclear issues, as if it was mocking the South. Seoul apparently has accepted its exclusion from the talks, greatly upsetting its people.
And now the North has demanded further humanitarian and economic assistance, and Seoul makes no objection. Without giving an explanation to the people, the government is hurrying to send aid packages similar to what we had given in the past. We are dumbfounded.
We do not object to humanitarian support for the North. But Pyeongyang appeals to the South when it needs help, yet demands that it be excluded from discussions of a matter that will determine the future of all Koreans. Such an attitude will never benefit inter-Korean talks. If we accept the North’s plea, we will spoil it further.
The government must not hurry to aid the North. It must confirm whether Pyeongyang really insisted on keeping the South out of the nuclear talks. Then it should convince the people why we should still offer our support, and and should make public our stance on the nuclear talks. If the government fails to convince the people, a serious split in our nation is a certainty.
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