[EDITORIALS]Talks must be full-fledgedDialogue between the North and South is being resumed after 10 monthsfollowing an agreement by two sides agreed over the weekend to hold senior-level talks in Kaesong, North Korea. The fact that officials from both sides are meeting to discuss bilateral issues amid growing tensions in the North Korea nuclear crisis is truly encouraging. Considering a situation in which, despite the ongoing nuclear crisis, Seoul and Pyongyang have not talked to each other for the past 10 months, just the meeting itself is meaningful enough.
Let’s hope that through this meeting both Koreas will try to normalize bilateral ties and discuss outstanding issues in-depth.
The most pressing issue on the Korean Peninsula now and in the relationship between South and North is to resolve the current crisis that has sprung from the North’s possession of nuclear weapons.
It is understood that at the talks Pyongyang only wants to discuss humanitarian aid to the North such as rice and fertilizer supplies and does not wish to address security issues regarding nuclear weapons. If that is true it is truly regrettable.
Right now, the Korean Peninsula is facing a severe crisis but there is a danger that this most pressing issue is not being addressed at the talks. What is certain is that the nuclear issue and bilateral ties between the two Koreas cannot be dealt with separately. This runs against public sentiment.
If North Korea continues to maintain this sort of attitude, it only shows that the North is not interested in a sincere coexistence or in a peaceful unification of the two Koreas.
That the North wants to overcome internal crisis by receiving help from the South in the form of rice and fertilizer aid while addressing security issues with the United States is a selfish approach. This can be only seen as an attempt to buy time through dialogue with the South while trying to build nuclear arms.
Thus, our government officials who are taking part in the talks with the North should not give in to the North’s intention to prevent the meeting from becoming just another event to buy time. They have to make sure that the talks will become a place where the nuclear issue and security issues are being addressed. North Korea also needs to refrain from criticizing the South while trying to make the talks fruitful by building up mutual respect and trust.