[EDITORIALS]Insincerity from the NorthThe agreement to set up a hotline between North and South Korean naval commanders, and to conduct radio and flag signal communications between naval vessels, has been praised as a visible sign of the alleviation of military tension between the Koreas. But implementation of the agreement has been hampered by the insincerity of the North.
Between June 14, when the two sides conducted tests of radio communications and flag signals, and June 30, our naval vessels made 17 radio calls to North Korean vessels, but the calls were responded to only three times.
It was agreed that both sides would remove propaganda instruments inside the western stretch of the Demilitarized Zone by the end of June. But the removal has not been completed yet. As the North has not removed large propaganda signs written with stones on hillsides, our side has also delayed the removal of our propaganda.
It is regrettable that the North is showing such an insincere attitude already. It even leads us to suspect whether the North came to the negotiation table with a hidden intention.
It is too soon to predict whether the North will continue to neglect the agreements. Judging from the attitude displayed so far, however, there seems little sign of a sincere intent to implement them. It was not because of technical difficulties that the North did not respond to our radio communications. At first, the North agreed to the removal of the signs written with stones, but later it wanted to rescind the agreement. The North’s behavior is hard to understand or accept. The North can’t evade the criticism that it used the agreement as a decoy for inducing the South to dismantle electric signs and other equipment, and then failed to hold up its end of the bargain.
Some people even suspect that the agreement was meant to induce the South to decide to send food aid to the North. If the North defaults on the agreements thinking that it’s gotten what it wants, it is making a big mistake. If the North wants its economy to recover, it must regain the world’s confidence, and the first step is to implement existing agreements with the South. The North could earn more confidence at today’s working-level meeting for inter-Korean military talks.