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  • <W Commentary> 50 years since the first dialogue between North and South Korea = Japan-South Korea relations and US-Korea relations should be given higher priority
<W Commentary> 50 years since the first dialogue between North and South Korea = Japan-South Korea relations and US-Korea relations should be given higher priority
The Ministry of Unification of South Korea held a ceremony to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the North-South dialogue on the 1st of this month.

The Korean Peninsula was released from Japanese rule on August 15th, 1945 due to the defeat of Japan. Soviet troops in the north and US troops in the south had begun military affairs. The North Kim Il Sung's power aiming for a Soviet-style socialist and communist system and the South Syngman Rhee's power aiming for an American-style liberal democracy system were in fierce conflict.

On August 15th, 1948, "Republic of Korea (South Korea)" was born in the south. The following month, September 9th, the "Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea)" was born in the north. This is the reason why a large-scale military parade of "Section 9.9, 73rd Anniversary" was held in North Korea before dawn on the 9th of this month.

During the era of ideological struggle, nationalists dreamed of unifying the North and South through a North-South dialogue, but ended with a dream. Kim Gu, who assassinated a Japanese VIP as an armed independence activist during the Japanese peninsula rule. It was not a foreigner but a relative who assassinated him, who was a representative of the nationalists involved in the North-South dialogue.

The US-Soviet Cold War, which is a conflict of ideas, became fierce, and the Korean War broke out on June 25th, 1950, as in a proxy war, and the north and south became opponents. More than 2 million people died in the three-year war, and the entire peninsula, north and south, was abandoned.

After that, the first dialogue between North and South was on August 20th, 1971. In the 1970s, the international situation changed, such as the approach between the United States and China and the progress of détente (relaxation of strained relations, especially political, by verbal communication) between the United States and the Soviet Union.

Meanwhile, the departure point of the dialogue was the "North-South Red Cross Talks" by the North-South Red Cross Society, which aimed to find separated families separated by the Korean War.

The following day, in May 1972, executives from the north and south governments visited each other in secret, and in July of the same year, a joint statement from the north and south was issued. The statement consisted of seven items, the "Principle of Reunification of the Homeland" and decided to carry out the unification of the homeland peacefully and voluntarily between the north and south without using force. This statement was evaluated as a "breakthrough event" both internally and externally at the time.

However, the subsequent North-South dialogue was to be repeated. On August 18th, 1976, at the Panmunjom store on the North-South military demarcation line, a "poplar incident" occurred in which North Korean soldiers killed a US soldier who tried to prune a poplar tree.

The tension between the South Korean and American troops and the North Korean army increased, and due to these conflicts, the North-South direct call was cut off on August 30th, the same year, and the North-South dialogue ceased.

Then, on October 9th, 1983, a North Korean agent attempted to assassinate (then) South Korean President Chun Doo-hwan while visiting Rangoon (now Yangon), the capital of Burma (now Myanmar) becoming the "Rangoon incident".

On November 29th, 1987, the "Korean Aircraft Bombing Incident," in which a passenger plane of Korean Air was blown up by a North Korean agent, forced the North-South dialogue to be interrupted.

The opportunity to overcome this situation was the "North-South Basic Agreement," an agreement document on the North-South dialogue that was signed between the North and South in December 1991 and came into effect in February 1992. At that time, South Korean President Roh Tae-woo actively promoted improving relations with North Korea.

In June 2000, the first inter-Korean summit was held after the division. South Korea's President Kim Dae-Jung and North Korea's General Secretary Kim Jong-il (both at that time) announced a North-South joint declaration after the meeting. It was the moment when President Kim's policy toward North Korea came to fruition.

President Kim Dae-Jung was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in the same year for this achievement.

The inter-Korean summit has been held five times so far. The current President Moon Jae-in has done it three times, all of which were held in 2018. At the summit meeting in April 2018, President Moon announced the Panmunjom Declaration with North Korea's Kim Jong Eun, chairman of the Workers' Party of Korea (currently the general secretary).

The Declaration will make the North-South joint goal of complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, establish an Inter-Korean Liaison Office in Kaesong, North Korea, and regularize summit meetings and North-South hotlines.

It was expected that the north-south snow would melt, but in February 2019, the second US-North Korea summit meeting between Kim Jung Eun and US President Donald Trump broke down, and the North-South relations deteriorated again.

North Korea blows up the Inter-Korean Liaison Office in June 2020. The blast meant that the north-south window was cut off, as the office only acted as a connecting channel that directly connected the north-south.

In his speech on May 10th, which coincided with his four years in office, President Moon said, "I will do my best when I have the opportunity to turn the clock of peace again and advance the peace process on the Korean Peninsula... I look forward to it."

On July 27th, expectations were raised that North Korea would restore the North-South communication line for the first time in a year and a month, and that the window for dialogue would be opened again. However, only 13 days later, on August 10th, North Korea stopped responding again, and the interruption continues to this day. It is believed that they opposed the implementation of the US-Korea joint military exercise, which had been intensifying the opposition for some time.

At a ceremony held on the 1st to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the North-South dialogue, Minister of Unification Lee In-young said, "We must reopen the path of the North-South dialogue that has stopped. I have a sense of mission and responsibility."

So far, a total of 667 North-South dialogues have been held, including five summit meetings. With President Moon's term running short, can North Korea be brought back to the dialogue table?

It is time for South Korea to wake up from the illusion of North-South dialogue. While the outcome of the North-South dialogue returns to Zero, Japan-South Korea relations are said to be the worst in history. The US-Korea alliance continues to fade from the "clan relations" that shed blood together during the Korean War and the Vietnam War.

As with the events from 1945 to 1948, the North-South dialogue with no results should be set aside for a while, and the recovery of Japan-Korea relations and US-Korea relations with results should always be prioritized. The method is surprisingly easy. It is not necessary to hold a Japan-Korea summit meeting or a practical discussion.

Before President Moon retires, he will unilaterally declare that he will keep his promises for 1965 and 2015. It is to declare that the Korean government will be liable for any outcome of the comfort women issue and the recruitment issue. Do not lie to South Korea or Koreans before the restoration of the Japan-US-Korea triangle alliance.

Published : 2021/09/15 21:07 KST



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