'S. Koreans Need to Take
the True Picture of N. Korea'

Experts discuss North Korean policies of the past and current governments

The Lee Myung-bak government should help the South Korean people grasp the truth of what's going on in North Korea, a forum says.
Lee Soo-seok, a senior researcher at the Institute for National Security Strategy (INSS), told a forum, "We can throw away biased views about North Korea only when we get a true picture of what the North is and establish North Korean policies on that basis."He made the remarks during a seminar on the Lee Myung-bak government's vision and action strategies, organized by Lee Choon-sik, a member of the National Assembly Foreign Affairs, Trade and Unification Committee, at the National Assembly Constitution Hall on Oct. 1.
He said that during the former government's rule, government officials associated with the so-called Independence Faction collided with those of the so-called U.S. Coalition Faction, a factor that caused confusion over North Korean policies and resulted in exchanged accusations over responsibility for the fiasco.
Thus, there is a need for inter-ministry coordination and cooperation in accordance with unified principles and policies toward North Korea.
Kim Kwang-yong, president of the Kwanghwa Research Institute, spoke about the necessity for South Korea to grasp the true picture of the North. "The number of South Koreans who have visited North Korea in the past decade is on the rise, and the reality is that the visitors have made trips for a short period of time and made a superficial judgment on the North and spread incorrect information to their neighbors,"he said.
Kim warned that South Korean visitors had vague views about the North since they saw only the North's economic difficulties and troubled current situation through party cadres and military facilities which back up the North Korean regime. This, he said, would lead to South Koreans'failure in sensing the North's true threat to the South and a loss in security awareness regarding the North.

The INSS researcher said the Lee government should set a policy target of encouraging the North to investigate the killing of a South Korean tourist at Mt. Geumgang and apologize or express its regrets over the incident while restoring inter-Korean dialogue channels.
Regarding the mid-term policy tasks, to be pursued within three years, the two Koreas should complete the dismantlement of North Korean nuclear arms and change the six-party talks on North Korean nuclear arms into a Northeast Asian security forum based on a verification system on the dismantlement of North Korea's nuclear arsenal. The South also should solve its chronic inefficiencies in preparing investments after reviewing the delayed parts of the top three inter-Korean economic cooperation projects -- the Gaeseong Industrial Complex, the Mt. Geumgang tour and the connection of the inter-Korean road and railway networks.
As long-term policy targets for the year 2012 and thereafter, Lee said, the two Koreas should establish a common community and pursue inter-Korean social integrity for realizing free inter-Korean travel. He added that the establishment of a gas pipeline connecting North and South Korea would be a good example of the projected inter-Korean economic community.
In the meantime, Lee enumerated the strong and weak points of the past government's North Korean policy, saying that the previous government ended up failing to induce North Korean changes and simply overlooked the development of North Korean nuclear arms. Lee added that the South Korean government stuck to a policy of separating economic and political matters and kept on pushing inter-Korean economic projects despite the North's development of nuclear arms, for fear of a stalemate in inter-Korean ties. The Gaeseong Industrial Complex, Mt. Gemgang tours and inter-Korean railway projects were publicized as projects combining the South's capital and the North's labor and natural resources, but they had the one-sided effect of only providing support for the North, he said.
Lee noted that the North's claim to Korean national consolidation was a plot to encourage inter-Korean joint reaction against the United Sates in order to not only induce the South to repeal ideas and policies against the North, but also to create a North Korean-friendly environment and proliferate anti-U.S. sentiment.
"The South strived to change the North Korean regime through North Korean support, but even the assistance to the North served as a buttress to back up the North Korean regime. North Korean residents do not consider the support from the South as humanitarian assistance, but as a result of the North Korean leader Kim Jong-il's leadership,"he said.
As for the transparency of distributing assistance to the North, he said, suspicion has mounted that items delivered to the North were diverted to military use or given to senior party officials and privileged echelons with priority, resulting in conflicts between the South and the international community, including the United States, over its support to the North.

Organizer's opening message
Rep. Lee Chun-sik, one of the organizers of the seminar, said in an opening speech, "The North Korean policy of the Lee Myung-bak government, now six months in office, is undergoing a transition amid rapidly changing developments on the Korean Peninsula and inter-Korean relations." "The so-called Sunshine North Korean policy has failed to yield tangible results over the past decade, rather, it has resulted in further exacerbating the integrity of South Korea,"he said.
"Inter-Korean ties were considered to be in a traditional correction period after the inauguration of the current government, but the North's stepped-up slanderous offensive against the South and the stoppage of inter-Korean dialogues among authorities have further exacerbated the already soured ties,"Lee said.
He said that in reality, such issues as the development of inter-Korean ties for ensuring co-prosperity amid the tense developments on the peninsula and the establishment of countermeasures against North Korean crises have become the most significant pending topics all political parties should cope with in a non-partisan way. nw

(left) Rep. Lee Choon-sik speaks in a seminar on the government's North Korean policy. Speakers have active discussions.

(clockwise) Rep. Chung Mong-joon,; Lee Sang-deuk,; National Assembly Speaker Kim Hyung-O,;Rep. Chung Doo-un; and NewsWorld President-Publisher Elizabeth M. Oh posing with attendees of the seminar,; and Rep. Chung Tae-keun.

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