Blind to trust the North

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Blind to trust the North

Chung Dong-young, the former Uri Party chairman, said, “It has become the right time to send a special envoy to North Korea and to hold an inter-Korean summit talk for peace,” and called for North Korean leader Kim Jong-il to do so. It is not only Mr. Chung who has urged an inter-Korean summit. President Roh Moo-hyun, Prime Minister Han Myeong-sook and Unification Minister Lee Jong-seok have said they would promote an inter-Korean summit, whenever they talked about the issue. Mr. Chung has finally given a deadline of next March or April to North Korea. He was honest enough to say that he wants the talk to be held by next April because after that, South Korean politics will enter the presidential race phase.
This administration is not making it clear what it will achieve through an inter-Korean summit, although it has spoken of a plan to promote the summit. The administration is only speaking in the abstract, saying the two Koreas must settle peace. We wonder, however, if it’s truly possible to instantly settle a military confrontation of more than 50 years simply through an agreement between the South and North Korean leaders. We vividly remember that, after the 2000 inter-Korean talks, North Korea provoked an engagement in the Yellow Sea in 2002 and conducted a nuclear test last October. Now, most of the South Korean public has learned from experience that an inter-Korean summit is not a cure-all to bring peace to the Korean Peninsula.
Does this administration really believe that it can persuade North Korea to give up its nuclear ambitions while it is scheming to label itself as a nuclear power? North Korea has claimed it needs nuclear weapons because of the hostile stance of the United States. Then, is this administration trying to make a promise to Pyongyang that the United States has given up its hostile stance to Pyongyang? If so, does this administration believe that Kim Jong-il would trust such a promise from President Roh?
Just in case, Mr. Kim may promise to give up his nuclear program so as to help the current administration and its allies take power again in next year’s presidential election. However, only a blind person would trust such a promise. We doubt that those who want an inter-Korean summit have foul political intentions. North Korea is not making any response, but the political leaders are taking turns pleading that North Korea hold such a summit talk, and it is unsightly. They’re only hurting the national pride of this country.
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