[FOUNTAIN]Next round of talks must not be a danceIn May 1814, Napoleon Bonaparte was exiled to the island of Elba. The countries that won the Napoleonic Wars, including Austria, England, Russia and Prussia, started to reorganize Europe. Starting from that September, a meeting was held in Vienna, Austria to divide the territory France had given up. A total of 90 kingdoms and 53 dukedoms participated in the meeting.
The meeting place was the Schonbrunn Palace ― then the Hamburg family’s summer residence and a Baroque building as magnificent as the Versailles Palace in France. Legend says that Mozart performed there in 1762 for Queen Maria Theresa when he was only 6 years old. After the performance the child prodigy reportedly went up to Princess Antoinette and said “I will marry you.”
The delegates of each country gathered at this place of such history but the actual meeting hardly happened. Although it was multilateral talks, not once did all the country delegates meet together during the 10 month-long Congress of Vienna. However, the palace was always noisy because the Austrian Statesman Metternich held a dance every day.
The diplomats indulged in a feast of waltzing. There were even sayings that “People are spending three quarters of their day in waltz and dance.” Chateau Haut-Brion wine from Graves, France became more popular through the events because some 100 thousand people tasted the wine most days for 10 months. Thomas Jefferson, who served two terms as the 3rd president of the United States had previously praised the Chateau Haut-Brion as “the best wine.”
Austrian general Von Ligne had said “The Congress dances (Der Kongress tanzt)” after seeing the scene. It was a famous remark which criticized that the meeting had made no progress until Napoleon fled Elba in February 1815.
After the six-party talks in Beijing agreed on a joint-statement, a government official rejoiced, saying, “The congress danced but we still reached our goal,” comparing the talks to the Congress of Vienna. Since the talks had reached a peak after 2 years of tedious negotiations, some can applaud the result thinking of it as a “victory of Korean diplomacy.”
However, what is important is to ensure North Korea faithfully carries out what they have committed to do in the statement and completes the remaining negotiations. The point should not be whether North Korea gives up its nuclear weapons or decides to abolish them. Above all, we must make sure the fifth round of the six-party talks scheduled for early November do not become a dance. Opening the champagne can wait until after then.
by Lee Sang-il
The writer is a deputy international news editor at the JoongAng Ilbo.