[EDITORIALS]Visit shouldn’t be top priority

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[EDITORIALS]Visit shouldn’t be top priority

The governing parties are said to be actively pushing for North Korean leader Kim Jong-il’s visit to the South. The Uri Party is said to be pursuing this issue in an open and transparent way, unlike previous administrations.
A visit by Kim Jong-il may provide an important opportunity to lessen the tension between the two nations and maintain peace in the Korean Peninsula. Also, it is significant that the governing party is seeking transparency in the process of negotiating a visit by Mr. Kim. We welcome Mr. Kim’s visit if it follows such principles.
However, there is one aspect in pursuing a North-South summit that the governing party should take into account. First, we are against the idea of considering Mr. Kim’s visit to the South as the “most pressing matter of the day.” The perception of being obsessed with Mr. Kim’s visit does not do the inter-Korean negotiations any good. What will North Korea think when it observes our politics?
Our economic situation is running into serious difficulties. And the recent ruling by the Presidential Truth Commission on Suspicious Deaths that North Korean spies be recognized as “democratic activists” proves that the internal conflict in our society has reached dangerous proportions. We must first deal with these urgent matters and pursue the North-South summit quietly.
There’s no need to get riled up over this issue. Rather, it is more important that we get something out of the summit, not merely that we hold one. Our most urgent matter is that North Korea give up their nuclear programs. What use is it to be tied down to the visit by Mr. Kim when we neglect these substantial issues?
In contrast to all the commotion in Korea, there is nothing coming from North Korea that gives any indication as to how people there feel about a possible North-South summit.
At this point, when we show strong attachment to the idea of another visit, this may cause misunderstandings. The summit must not be used as a way to divert attention from domestic politics. The summit should be pursued quietly, meticulously, and only then must there be an agreement in the National Assembly.
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