[EDITORIALS]Progress, we hope, in ChinaYesterday’s visit to China by Kim Jong-il, Chairman of the National Defense Commission of North Korea, and his summit meeting with Hu Jintao, the president of China, foretells a great change in the political situation surrounding the Korean Peninsula. North Korea has been trying to gain regime assurances and economic aid from the United States by its threat of nuclear arms, but has failed to achieve anything. Even China found it hard to go against the hard-line stance against Pyeongyang by the United States.
Hence, despite the reform measures taken by the North in 2002, the economic situation worsened. Espe-cially, the worsening of the economic situation, while the differences between the rich and poor became wider after the economic reform, is driving North Korea into a dead end.
With the results of the recent legislative elections, the status of so-called “progressive powers” in our National Assembly has become greater. Under these circumstances, it seems likely that Mr. Kim found dialogue with Chinese leaders to be urgent.
Our interest is of course the North’s nuclear problem and its open-door policy. We hope that talks on bilateral economic cooperation projects including the Sinuiju special economic zone in the North, will bear fruit. Especially, North Korea should take China as a model and realize that opening up the North will not only make the people live better lives but also allow the regime to survive. In this age of globalization, it must consider whether isolation is the way to survival.
We also hope that this visit will provide a chance to solve the nuclear issue. Economic aid and giving up nuclear weapons are two sides of the same coin. We hope that China will tell North Korea that it will not overlook nuclear development. It is no longer possible to solve the nuclear issue through piecemeal measures.
This is an important opportunity for China to maintain its influence and to gain recognition from the international community for its diplomatic prowess.
The North does not have many opportunities. It can no longer neglect the economic difficulties that are threatening the regime’s survival. Mr. Kim must face reality through this visit and resolve the nuclear issue.