The government won’t listenThe government has decided to give 400 million won ($423,000) in cash to North Korea to purchase equipment, including television monitors, to be used for the reunions of separated families. After an agreement was reached at the six-party talks in February, the government has been trying hard to provide aid to North Korea. The government has broken its principle not to give cash to the North. One wonders why the government is working so hard to help the North.
Business between the two Koreas, such as connecting the railways that run across the border, are for the two Koreas on the outside, but in practice they are a form of providing aid to the North because North Korea has little material or money to carry out these projects. North Korea needs to receive not only railways and railway ties, but also gloves and paper. It’s the same with reuniting separated families through video conferences. South Korea needs to provide the construction material, large monitors and computers.
The problem is that this administration is rushing the procedure and has no principles about providing aid. The government seems anxious to give more. Of course, we should offer humanitarian aid or other help for inter-Korean business. However, the government should be more mature and confident when delivering aid, and consider the feelings of its people. The government also should try to work with international society. But the government has been stubborn and does not listen to anyone. When delivering monitors and computers, one should abide by international regulations on such strategic materials, such as the U.S. Export Administration Regulations. In particular, sending products made in South Korea to North Korea is strictly controlled.
The government should have consulted the United States, as it did for the Kaesong Industrial Complex. If that was not easy, the Korean government could have bought Chinese products and installed them in North Korea. But the government wants to give North Korea cash and tell it to use it at its will.
The government has revealed its intention. It does not want to offend North Korea, and it does not care about global opinion or that of South Koreans.
When providing aid to the North, the government must not break its principle not to give cash to North Korea until the North comes clean about its nuclear development program, because that will have a huge impact on the private sector.