Updated : May.21.2005 07:39 KST

[Editorial] Hoping for a Restoration of Intra-Korean Relations

The vice-ministerial talks between North and South were not easy but have ended with the adoption of a joint press statement with three clauses. It was agreed that there would be ministerial talks June 21-24 in Seoul, that a ministerial-level delegation from the South would visit Pyongyang for a joint even celebrating the June 15th Joint Declaration, and that the South will give the North 200,000 tons of fertilizer.

It is regrettable that no concrete mention of the North Korean nuclear issue was made despite it having been discussed until the very end. It is also unfortunate that the issue of reunions for the many people desperate to see family members in the North and items such as the opening of transportation links was tabled until June's ministerial talks. However, much significance may be attached to the fact that talks reopened after a they were disrupted ten months ago, and that a Southern delegation will go to Pyongyang for the fifth anniversary of the summit. One hopes to see the opportunity put to good use, so that North and South may strip themselves of their pent-up emotions and restore relations that are based on reconciliation and cooperation.

The establishment of a channel for dialogue will function positively in resolving the complicated nuclear issue. It establishes a foundation from which our government can speak its mind. It also is reason for a feeling of expectation to learn that the Bush Administration has conveyed to the North Korean mission at the United Nations that it recognizes the North's sovereignty and will not attack it.

Those in our society who take an overly critical attitude about the lack of clear mention of the nuclear issue and the decision to give the North fertilizer are looking at the question of North and South with an eye that is too confrontational. It is right as members of the same Korean nation to provide food and fertilizer aid ahead of negotiations to resolve the hunger experienced by our Northern brethren. The cause of peace on the peninsula is advanced when the warmth of our hearts is conveyed to them.

The Hankyoreh, 21 May 2005.

[Translations by Seoul Selection (PMS)]

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