A reality checkIn his speech to commemorate Liberation Day, President Roh Moo-hyun revealed his stance for the upcoming North-South summit.
He said he would try to achieve advances one by one. He also stressed that now is the time to put more effort into implementing agreements between South and North Korea.
He said that he plans to make sure the summit meeting helps to make the six-party talks successful. This perspective is desirable. It suggests that he will prioritize pragmatic results and focus on political reality.
There are some problems with the summit meeting, such as its timing. But as long as a summit meeting is to be held, it must result in concrete achievements.
However, what defines achievement? According to a recent poll, nearly 70 percent of South Koreans said the summit meeting is a good idea.
Among the respondents, 61.8 percent said that North Korea’s nuclear issue must be resolved at the summit.
This shows that the people believe the summit meeting must be a turning point in North Korea’s abolition of its nuclear weapons development program.
In this regard, it is regrettable that some politicians maintain, erroneously, that North Korea’s nuclear issue cannot be on the agenda for the summit meeting. President Roh must not be influenced by these arguments; he must follow the people instead.
There will be different opinions about what counts as progress in resolving North Korea’s nuclear issue.
However, there must be a clear definition of what people cannot accept. For instance, if President Roh reluctantly utters a few words and Kim Jong-il makes some vague remarks, nobody will think of that as an achievement.
President Roh stressed that the six-party talks and the inter-Korean summit meeting must create a virtuous circle.
We hope that good results will emerge from the summit meeting, just as the president said.
President Roh has asserted that he will not pursue an unreasonable goal. This is the right attitude because it means he will keep realities like national security and possible extra burdens on taxpayers at the front of his mind, instead of caring about his personal achievements at the meeting.
We hope that President Roh will keep to this stance on all issues including the Northern Limit Line, economic cooperation between the two Koreas and methods for reunification.