&#91EDITORIALS&#93Heal rift with cooperation

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&#91EDITORIALS&#93Heal rift with cooperation

The difference between South Korea and the United States in reacting to North Korea’s “bold and new proposal” at the three-way talks in Beijing is worrisome. Seoul and Washington should work together but dissension prevails within the U.S. government to the extent that even agreement to continue the dialogue has not been reached. Seoul officials are trying to shed light on the positives in the North Korean proposal. South Koreans should be expected to be confused when the United States, which participated in the talks, voices skepticism. South Korea, which did not sit at the table, overflows with optimism.
With its “bold and new proposal,” North Korea is aiming at a package deal with the United States. Against such a background, close cooperation between Seoul and Washington is all the more vital. The developments so far are not promising. Are the two countries sharing information as to the background and the motive of Pyeongyang’s recent proposal? Are they construing things differently, each bowing to its own convenience when interpreting the same information? Furthermore, we wonder if the divergence is actually hindering the sharing of information.
In that vein, South Korea’s new lineup of senior intelligence officials is disconcerting in that it might prohibit the two countries from sharing information. It is a lineup that the National Assembly has expressed concern about. What kind of trust will be formed with the United States in the sharing of high-level intelligence? Is South Korea caught in a war of nerves between Pyeongyang and Washington, causing a lack of focus on the matter? If so, it is because South Korea was excluded from the three-way talks.
There will be no sharing of information without a solid foundation of trust with the United States. In that sense, we need to work with the United States to tune our position on the North Korean nuclear issue. South Korea would be outside the boundary of North Korean affairs if we do not completely share information with the United States. The start of cooperation on the North Korean nuclear issue begins with earning America’s trust.
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