[EDITORIALS]The best summit yetPresident Roh Moo-hyun and U.S. President George W. Bush held a summit meeting yesterday, the fifth such meeting since the Roh administration was launched.
Yesterday’s summit talks were the best so far in terms of content and style. The duration of the talks was also the longest, lasting for four hours. The result was also the classiest one yet, taking the form of a joint statement.
The meeting focused mainly on three issues ― the future vision of the Korea-U.S. alliance, agreements on carrying out the Sept.19 joint statement on the North Korean nuclear problem and establishing a peace system.
Regarding the future of the alliance, the joint statement emphasizes factors negotiated by both sides and lays to rest speculation over a rupture in the alliance. Also, by agreeing to launch a strategic negotiating body to deal with alliance relationships on a ministerial level, the countries have an opportunity to move to a more comprehensive, mature alliance.
In particular, when a strategic conference of foreign ministers is put into operation along with the Security Consultative Meeting of defense ministers, Korea and the United States will have a general framework in which the two countries will be able to not only manage their current agendas, but also discuss and prepare future blueprints.
The two leaders also were united ― something that rarely happens ― on the North’s nuclear issues. Above all, they reconfirmed that a breakthrough must be made in solving the issue by holding six-party talks as soon as possible. This agreement further enables a prediction that bilateral consultations among North Korea, Japan and the United States will become active as it expresses hopes for progress in consultations on a peace system and the multilateral talks. As can be seen in these examples, yesterday’s summit meeting produced by far the best results since the Roh Moo-hyun administration took office.
In a post-Cold War Northeast Asia, there can be many complicated problems between Korea and the United States that could not have been imagined in the past. There can be differences between the two countries over priorities of national interest and the methods of solving problems. However, as yesterday’s summit meeting showed, if two countries approach problems with the idea of solving them together and in a friendly spirit, alliances can have life. Such friendly sentiments have sprung up, and both countries must make efforts not to break this atmosphere.