[EDITORIALS]In a word, brazenIn inter-Korean ministerial talks, the North’s representative made remarks that were truly out of line. He called for an end to joint military drills by South Korea and the United States and also urged the South to abolish the National Security Law. Furthermore, he demanded that Seoul should allow visiting South Koreans to pay their respects at a tomb dedicated to North Korean revolutionaries. Regarding the North’s missile launches, he said only that Seoul should take note of the statement released by the North’s Foreign Ministry a couple of days ago. Is this the reason why we persisted in holding the meeting? This administration is pathetic.
But the master stroke came when the North said that its “military first” policy had contributed to the South’s security, followed by a request for 500,000 tons of rice. The logic here was that the North was opposing an American invasion with its missiles and nuclear weapons. Thus the North, which is not only protecting itself but also South Korea, should receive support from the South.
The North said it can conduct regular military exercises but argues that the South cannot do the same. Pyongyang considers South Korea as nothing but a vassal state.
We were, however, preordained to come to this sorry pass.
First, the president said that he would support the North with systems and goods. Then Seoul defended the North’s illegal activities such as counterfeiting and turned a blind eye to North Korean human rights concerns. Even when North Korean missiles were launched, Seoul turned its attention to blaming Japan instead of North Korea. Is Seoul that desperate to hold a summit meeting with the North’s leader, Kim Jong-il? Or do these actions stem from ideological beliefs? A country should not implode because of the president’s personal beliefs.
The South’s representative has failed in trying to counter the North’s arguments. We didn’t go to this meeting to hear those assertions. Rather than strong protests about the missile launches, Seoul only went through the motions, mentioning it only briefly ― and now we are faced with demands to pay tribute!
This administration went ahead with the meeting, it said, in order to keep communications with the North open. It did, and it was caught flat-footed. North Korean policy should be rethought from square one. We should not allow ourselves to be used like this in meetings; the people are enraged.