[EDITORIALS]Unreasonable demandsNorth Korea suddenly demanded at the inter-Korean ministerial talks, for the first time ever, that South Korea’s anti-Pyeongyang groups be dismantled. It also demanded that South Korea send back communist prisoners who served long terms due to their refusal to convert. Pyeongyang’s attempts to intervene in the South’s domestic affairs have grown unreasonable.
But we are living in a society where even the president urges people to show tolerance to Song Du-yul, a Korean-German scholar who refused to apologize for his activities as a member of the North Korean Workers’ Party. In this situation, where can we possibly find the identity of the Republic of Korea?
North Korea’s chief delegate, Kim Ryong-song, asserted that some South Koreans had viciously slandered the North and insulted its lofty system. “Such attitudes are against the spirit of the South-North Joint Declaration of June 15, 2000, and a dangerous provocation against the inter-Korean basic agreement in which the two sides agreed to respect each other’s system,” Mr. Kim said.
North Korea’s arguments, however, are self-contradictory. First, the inter-Korean basic agreement said the two Koreas would respect each other’s system. And it means that both sides respect each other’s constitution. The South Korean constitution guarantees freedom of assembly and association. Thus, North Korea’s demand that anti-Pyeongyang groups in the South be dissolved denies South Korea’s constitution. That demand is no different from South Korea asking the North to stop promoting its Juche ideology. How would the North respond to that?
At the inter-Korean talks, the North flatly refused to discuss nuclear issues, insisting that it is a bilateral matter with the United States. What happened to the 1992 Joint Declaration of Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula between the two Koreas?
Pyeongyang must stop talking nonsense. In order to stop North Korea from persisting in unreasonable arguments, our society really must establish a strong identity. Sentimental nationalism is the real obstacle in inter-Korean rapprochement.