[LETTERS TO THE EDITOR]No ‘breakthrough’ hereLee Su-hoon’s column “An opportunity to be seized”(Viewpoint, June 21) was overly optimistic about the ministerial meeting as it pertains to the North Korean nuclear problem.
First, the meeting between Kim Jong-il and Chung Dong-young did not signal progress in inter-Korean relations or the promotion of peace on the peninsula. Looking at the meeting in a rational way, the indeed unexpected and belated call for a resumption of the six-party talks was a gesture solely in the North’s interest, a move to ease criticism against it and not a “momentous event” that signified a breakthrough. All that was reconfirmed through this meeting was that South Korea is still the North’s political puppet, providing its services whenever they are asked for.
Secondly, Mr. Kim’s remarks during the meeting did not, as the column stated, demonstrate that South Korea’s diplomatic efforts to date have not been wasted. What Mr. Kim said during the ministerial talks was merely a repeat of what he has said for a year, since the break from the six-party talks. The dictator has always asserted that he was intent on keeping the Korean peninsula nuclear-free and that he was willing to return to peaceful negotiations once the Bush administration dropped its hostile attitude toward the regime, attesting that “North Korea has never given up or refused the six-nation talks.”
Third, the idea of engaging in more diplomacy with the communist state is based on a murderous misconception. The persistent appeasement policy that the Roh administration has employed under the “peace and prosperity policy” is escalating the nuclear crisis. With inter-Korean trade nearing $700 million, South Korea seems to be providing the backdrop for the Stalinist regime to go wild. In light of the ideas of Thomas H. Henriksen, director of the Hoover Institution, South Korea, too, should use power rather than diplomacy to deal with rogue states.
In short, the title of the column would have been more appropriate if it had been “An opportunity to be ceased,” in that South Korea could actually blow its only opportunity to resolve the nuclear brinkmanship.
by Lee Seong Min