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Don't Touch the Summit Card!

Song Bong Son, Professor, Korea University  |  2011-06-13 18:39
Shortly after Kim Jong Il’s trip to China, North Korea exposed the contents of a secret meeting between officials from South and North, supposedly intended to bring North Korea back to summit talks. This exposure, which included the alleged contents of the meeting, such as a list of possible attendees, a bribe and even a compromise position to settle the dispute over an apology for the Cheonan incident, caused domestic uproar.

North Korea didn’t stop there, announcing that if South Korea didn’t come clean about the meeting, it would reveal tapes of the contents which it says it made. If South Korea does not respond the way North Korea wants, then the chance that they may do something else to inspire a reaction is high.

The North’s strategy is aimed at causing conflict between conservatives and progressives in South Korea.

For longer than can easily be remembered, there has not been a national consensus on inter-Korean relations. This internal division has produced a number of bad habits. Kim Jong Il is pleased that there is such discord within South Korea. The National Defense Commission, which directs this campaign, carefully watches the South through reconnaissance, so Kim knows very well what is going on.

The Lee Myung Bak administration has put first on its list of priorities the denuclearization of North Korea, which they have been following quite closely. They have not grown disoriented and started wavering between aid and no aid, but rather have stood firm in their position. This is in contrast with the Roh Moo Hyun administration, which delivered a large amount of food aid.

Meanwhile, North Korea has for some time been attempting to repair inter-Korean relations so as to induce aid. Back at the time of Kim Dae Jung’s funeral in 2009, Kim Ki Nam and Kim Yang Gun, two relatively weighty North Korean officials, came down to deliver an invitation to summit talks.

The government says that the door to summitry is always open. The United States and China have also met at the White House to discuss the Six-Party Talks and how to improve inter-Korean relations. If North Korea were to express regret for the Cheonan and Yeonpyeong incidents, inter-Korean relations could apparently begin to improve and the Six-Party Talks could take place.

One way that this could happen is by having officials first apologize for the Cheonan incident, which was what the Beijing secret meeting was an attempt to do. Hyun In Taek, the Minister of Unification, has also attempted several times to get an apology from North Korea for the Cheonan.

From this perspective, the Sunshine Policy a way to get a summit meeting. Roh Moo Hyun organized a summit. However, the Lee Myung Bak government must act differently.

The public went through two summits and is becoming fed up. There is nothing to be gained from these summit talks except for a fancy reception. It is time to maintain consistency.

※ The writer’s opinions are his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Daily NK.
 
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