Extension of the Summit Ignored
Park Hyun Min | 2007-10-04 16:25 Read in Korean
Kim Jong Il visited the residence that President Roh was staying during his stay for the Inter-Korean Summit. Kim Jong Il suddenly asked President Roh to, “Why don’t we postpone the agenda for today and you can leave one day later,” suggesting an extension of the summit.
However, President Roh declined Kim Jong Il’s suggestion and decided to return on the set date of 4th afternoon as originally expected. Kim Jong Il claimed, “I think it would be nice if we could take our time to eat tomorrow afternoon,” but his suggestion was not accepted.
This incident became quite bizarre, but it appears that Kim Jong Il did not expect President Roh to decline his offer. This kind of ambience can be detected from their conversation between President Roh and Kim Jong Il.
Upon Kim Jong Il’s request, President Roh claimed that, “there are two strict places – escort and protocol- I have to talk to them,” fleeing from having to give a direct answer. Upon that, Kim Jong Il said, “You’re the president, you make the decision,” and showed discomfort.
It appears that President Roh has made the appropriate decision by declining the surprise request of Kim Jong Il.
It is hard to tell what Kim Jong Il was trying to do through his surprise request. It could be that he wanted to control the president of the South and thereby getting the upper hand in the negotiation. Or if he wanted to simply carry out all the prepared performances.
For the past 10 years, Kim Dae Jung-Roh Moo Hyun government has sponsored approximately a total of 1,897 million dollars to North Korea in their humanitarian sponsorship to North Korea. However, the upper hand was always given to the North. Even when North Korea would make simple requests, South Korea would oblige to them.
Even during the Inter-Korean Summit, the attitude of North Korea remained high-handed attitude. Of course, there was a massive flood in North Korea, but they called off the Summit which was originally scheduled to the end of August to the beginning of October. Even the location of the welcoming ceremony which was planned to be held on 2nd was announced to be changed to April 25 Culture Center on the day of the welcoming ceremony.
The agenda of the Summit is disorganized so it is hard to anticipate anything. The pre planned agenda is vulnerable to Kim Jong Il’s changes. It is a fact that is difficult for any ordinary nation to swallow. It is also inappropriate in the diplomatic custom that they only placed a director of Unification Propaganda Department Kim Yang Geun during the Inter-Korean Summit.
Our government has continuously excused this as the, “particularity of North Korean society.” However, if the president of a nation continues to accept this kind of behavior, it could only lead to self degradation. By refusing the extension of this year’s summit, it could be analyzed that President Roh kept the pride of our people.