Make it realAfter the announcement of a summit meeting between South and North Korea, a White House spokesman said the event offers an opportunity for more progress in the six-party talks, which are supposed to drive denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula. A spokesman at the U.S. Department of State said that it is for South and North Korea to decide what will be discussed at the summit meeting and Washington will continue to focus on the six-party talks as its main diplomatic effort on the North Korea issue. This is taken to mean that the U.S. welcomes the summit meeting but believes it must make a contribution to the progress of the six-party talks.
Yasuhisa Shiozaki, Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary, also welcomed the decision to hold a South-North Korea summit meeting and added that he hoped the Roh-Kim meeting will support the six-party talks and their efforts to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula. The Asahi Shimbun urged South Korea to confirm the abolition of nuclear weapons and programs with Kim Jong-il, the North Korean leader ― the avowed goal of the six-party talks. The Yomiuri Shimbun warned that if South Korea promises unilaterally to increase aid to North Korea, outside the framework of the six-party talks, North Korea’s nuclear issue will become tangled.
The United States and Japan have given a cautious welcome to the summit because they worry that the meeting might damage the framework of international cooperation set up to ensure that North Korea abandons its nuclear weapons program. The North Korean leader has not provided any guarantee he will do this. So our allies are worried that if South Korea is swayed by North Korea’s emphasis on Korean brotherhood and gives massive economic aide to Pyongyang, that will be the same as accepting North Korea’s status as a nuclear power.
The South Korean government says the meeting will make a contribution to the resolution of North Korea’s nuclear issue. But the summit will be meaningless unless a timetable is agreed to demonstrate Kim’s will to implement the agreement made at the six-party talks.
The government has repeated its stance that it supports denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. President Roh Moo-hyun must heed the world’s anxieties and do his best to produce real achievements. We must not let the summit meeting hinder the progress of the six-party talks or damage the framework of international cooperation established to dismantle North Korea’s nuclear programs.