[FOUNTAIN]Restoring the dance of diplomacy

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[FOUNTAIN]Restoring the dance of diplomacy

Dance is the rhythmical movement of the body. Dance is pure pleasure. Such dances as the tango and waltz require the harmony of partners, so these dances can provide a more exhilarating feeling than solo dances. The partners must remember the synchronized movements, so those who have disagreements can find harmony through dance in the evening even when they have had conflict in their discussions in the afternoon.
Dance used to be a part of diplomatic negotiations where national interests collided. Dance was a quintessential part of the Congress of Vienna in 1814-15. The high-profile attendants included Russian Czar Alexander I, Austrian chancellor Klemens von Metternich, French foreign minister Charles-Maurice de Talleyrand-Perigord and British and Prussian diplomats.
Their goal was to restore the ancient regime of Europe, which was destroyed by Napoleon’s revolution. European countries formed an alliance to defeat their mutual enemy. But in the negotiations on dividing and distributing territories to restore the ancient regime, entangled national interests made it hard for the diplomats to reach an agreement. Yet, while the talk in the afternoon might have produced a deadlock, the splendid ball in the evening never lost its excitement.
The diplomats seemed to enjoy the parties more than the negotiations, and Europeans derided the meeting as the “dancing congress.” But it produced the system that framed the international order in Europe for over a century. If it weren’t for the physical interaction at the balls, the consuming, stalled negotiations could have ruptured.
When North Korean leader Kim Jong-il recently met with Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, he reportedly said he wanted to dance with George W. Bush so much as to become thirsty.
Mr. Koizumi delivered the message to the U.S. president, who rejected the offer of a pas de deux with Mr. Kim.
The episode illustrates that Mr. Kim is eager to have a meeting with Mr. Bush in order to protect his regime. But Mr. Bush remains lukewarm. Mr. Bush is a different sort of partner from former President Kim Dae-jung or Grand National Party leader Park Geun-hye, who has danced with the North Korean leader in the past.
A negotiation with no dance in the evening is easy to break. Unfortunately, even Seoul has no power to make Mr. Bush dance.


by Chun Young-gi

The writer is a deputy political news editor of the JoongAng Ilbo.

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