Summit expectationsThe South-North Korea summit meeting began yesterday in Pyongyang. Unlike the 2000 summit meeting during which people were overjoyed and broke custom, this summit meeting has a calmer atmosphere. That means inter-Korean relations have matured over the past seven years, so people are even more interested to see what results will emerge.
In his message before departure, President Roh Moo-hyun announced his goals of this summit meeting.
His goals include establishment of permanent peace on the Korean Peninsula and co-development of the economies in both South and North Korea.
He did not mention clearly, however, how these goals can be accomplished.
Throughout world history, a military balance has been a key to lasting peace. That applies to South-North Korean relations.
The Korean Peninsula sustained peace for the past six decades because there was a balance between the South Korea-U.S. alliance and North Korea.
North Korea’s nuclear weapons sought to break the balance, but the South Korean president did not take a determined stance on the issue, and instead started talking about peace.
That is hard to understand for the South Korean people, and it is misunderstood as being a political strategy for the upcoming presidential election.
As for developing the economies of South and North Korea, President Roh said he will reveal his plan to support the establishment of special zones in Haeju and Nampo, North Korea.
Trillions of won -- billions of dollars -- will be required. This effort will require not just government support but also financial backing from South Korean companies.
That is probably why chairmen of conglomerates also made the trip to Pyongyang with Roh. But when North Korea is armed with nuclear weapons, it is hard to invest in the country.
Thus, the dismantling of North Korea’s nuclear development program is a prerequisite for peace and economic development on the Korean Peninsula.
Kim Jong-il must bear this in mind and make the right decisions. He must realize that no country will allow his nation to receive aid while the North keeps nuclear arms.
The entire world, including the United States, is keenly watching the two leaders of South and North Korea.
We hope that the two leaders can somehow present a gift to the world and reduce its concerns.