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'War Is Impermissible On the Korean Peninsula'
Unification Minister Chung outlines South Korea's peace strategy in Berlin, Jan.28
Kim Tae Kyung (internews)     Print Article 
Published 2005-01-29 10:48 (KST)   
South Korean Unification Minister Chung Dong Young
©2005 Yonhap
Unification Minister Chung Dong Young, on visit to Germany, declared a plan to offer "comprehensive and concrete aid" to North Korea -- massive economic aid -- from the moment it begins the process of giving up its nuclear program.

This is quite different from the U.S. position, which states that security guarantees and improvements in relations would be possible only after the North Koreans declared they are giving up their nuclear program and confirmation is made that the situation cannot be reversed.

When he visited Los Angeles in November, President Roh Moo Hyun said that there was some reason in North Korean claims that it was developing nuclear weapons and missiles to protect itself from outside threats, and that is was undesirable to resolve the nuclear issue by using force on North Korea or by isolating Pyongyang.

One diplomacy and security expert said the Minister Chung's comments were an authoritative statement of the materialization of President Roh's "LA Initiative." Some also view Chung's statement along similar lines as the Berlin Declaration made by then-President Kim Dae-jung when he visited Berlin in March 2000. In his declaration, Kim strongly hinted at in inter-Korean summit, which was ultimately held in June of that year.

Friday's address at the German History Museum

Ahead of his participation as presidential envoy at the World Economic Forum at Davos, Switzerland, Minister Chung gave an address Friday entitled, "Peace on the Korean Peninsula and the Historical Choice: Korea's Strategy" at a symposium jointly sponsored by the Free University of Berlin and the Korean Embassy in Berlin at the German History Museum in the German capital.

In the address, Chung declared, "Firstly, war is impermissible on the Korean Peninsula. The 1950 war left behind a nation in ashes, the division of a people, and separation of families... Memories of war still remain in the hearts of many, so from Korea's position, a 'military option' cannot be considered."

He said, "We have ended our clash of systems and economic confrontation with the North... The core of Korea's North Korea policy is peaceful coexistence were both sides acknowledge one another and solve 'issues' through dialogue." He stressed, "We hope North Korea chooses for itself sustainable economic development alternatives, and we wish to create an environment so North Korea can choose the path of co-prosperity through concrete economic cooperation projects, including the Gaesong Industrial Zone."

The statement was meant to head off a the possibility of a U.S. attack on North Korea, an option the U.S. is believed to be still considering, while at the same time make clear that South Korea has no intention to absorb the North.

Chung called for simultaneous attitude changes on the part of North Korea and the United States. He said, "Since the 1990s, North Korea has missed several moments to make strategic choices... North Korea must stop wasting time and make a decision to restart the six-party talks and participate in the international community."

Chung stressed, "The future-oriented pragmatic diplomacy of U.S. Richard Nixon, who visited socialist China in February 1972, ultimately led China toward reform and openness and played a role in the improvement of the human rights situation in China." He strongly reminded the United States that rather than military options and economic blockades on North Korea, resolute dialogue and negotiations were much more effective.

Clear differences with the U.S. position

The biggest attention grabber was the following:

"Once North Korea starts to give up its nuclear program, South Korea will provide large-scale economic support for North Korea. The plan will go beyond the three existing cooperation projects, i.e., the Gaesung Industrial Complex, Kumkang-san tourism project, and the railroad and road links.

First, once inter-Korean dialogue resumes, South Korea is willing to pursue comprehensive cooperation in the field of agriculture, which was stressed as one of the priority economic fronts in North Korea's New Year's message. We will provide grain, fertilizers, agricultural machinery and equipment, among others, to help ease North Korea's agricultural problems. In addition, we also have plans to provide systematic support and cooperation for creating agricultural infrastructure, increasing agricultural production, and improving agricultural structure.

With the resolution of the nuclear problem, multilateral support can also be made in the area of energy, which is vital for the revival of North Korea's economy. We can also provide further assistance to repair their railroad system, modernize their harbors, and enhance human resources."


Firstly, if only dialogue between the authorities of North and South, which has been suspended since July, is restarted, the South would provide wide-scale aid to improve North Korea's agricultural structure in order to increase the nation's agricultural productivity, including the provision of food, fertilizer and agricultural machinery.

Estimates vary, but it's known that North Korean food production comes up more than 2 million tons short every year. This means the South is ready to provide large-scale assistance to the North in order to improve its agricultural productivity to fundamentally resolve its food shortages if the North simply restarts inter-Korean dialogue. This is quite different from its previous position, which was to precondition any form of assistance on a solution to the nuclear issue.

Going even further was his statement that as long as the North Koreans start along the tracks to a solution to the nuclear issue, the South would provide comprehensive and concrete aid that goes beyond what the Seoul has already promised up till now, including energy aid, development of the Gaesong Industrial Zone, and connecting inter-Korean railways and roads.

As is probably well known, the U.S. position is that it cannot improve its relations with Pyongyang or give aid until North Korea has given up its nuclear program and it has been confirmed that it cannot go back. Chung's position is almost diametrically opposed.

Currently, the U.S. has two suspicions about North Korea's nuclear program. Firstly, it's suspicious that North Korea has reprocessed plutonium and secured nuclear material enough to build between three and five nuclear weapons, or even has that number of weapons, and secondly, that it has another nuclear capacity through uranium enrichment.

Chung's statement could be interpreted in several different ways. At the very least, they would seem to suggest that if North Korea rejoined the NPT and simply froze its plutonium reprocessing, South Korea would give massive economic aid to the North.

One could also interpret his statement as meaning that the South is considering a "North Korean Marshall Plan" that would involve long-term economic support including the massive construction of social overhead capital so that the North could economically recover.

The six-party talks are not a strategy to besiege the North

Up till now, North Korea has called the six-party talks a "framework by which the U.S. isolates the North and puts pressure on Pyongyang. In fact, many experts say the reason the U.S. has persisted with the six-party framework while the North has been calling for direct bilateral negotiations has to do with this. Because of this, North Korea has claimed that South Korea's stressing of the six-party talk format is unilaterally following U.S. intentions and a violation of inter-Korean cooperation.

In his address, however, Chung said the six-party talks would go beyond the nuclear issue and develop into a multilateral security cooperation system for Northeast Asia. He stressed that Europe was able to systematize military trust through the OSCE. He said the six-party talks could become the OSCE of Northeast Asia, and he hoped the changes would materialize within a couple of years.

This was nothing other than an active statement designed to eliminate North Korea's suspicions about the six-party talks. It was also a declaration that even if the U.S. intended to internationally besiege the North, Seoul would never be caught up in such an intention.

Chung also said, "The APEC summit meeting will be held in Korea in November of this year. I hope that the North Korean nuclear will substantially resolve and that the setting will be a historic moment where the end of the cold war on the Korean peninsula is declared before the entire world."

This means that he hopes the nuclear issue is resolved before the APEC summit opens in November. By strongly hoping for substantive progress with the nuclear issue before November, this statement could bring to mind an inter-Korean summit, which is being predicted in some quarters.

Text
Peace on the Korean Peninsula and the Historical Choice
by Hon. Chung Dong-young
Minister of Reunification &
Standing Committee Chairman, National Security Council
Republic of Korea


Distinguished scholars and guests,

I would like to thank you for sharing time with me this afternoon.

Before I begin, I would like to express my deepest sorrow for the tragedy that occurred in South Asia. The unprecedented tsunami brought about devastating consequences, the loss of lives and properties. My deepest sympathies are with the bereaved families and victims.


Distinguished guests,

Berlin is a city of history. It is the symbol of the cold war of the last century. At the same time, it is a city of unity, which saw its wall brought down 15 years ago, opening a new chapter in world history.

Berlin is also significant to Koreans. This is where tension on the Korean peninsula began to thaw. In 2000, President Kim Dae-jung made his famous Berlin Declaration, which was the foundation of the historic South North Summit Meeting in the same year.

I am happy to be here to share the views of President Roh Moo-hyun's government and that of myself about the opening of a new chapter in the history of the Korean peninsula.

This year is a historical year not just for the Korean peninsula but the entire world. It marks the 60th anniversary since the end of the Second World War. The "History of Madness" as seen in fascism has disappeared from the European continent. Through 60 years of its making, Europe's democracy today is a 'sustainable institution' true to its name. Germany's role in this process has been important, and I take this opportunity to express my respect for the German people who were able to set root to democracy through self-reflection on the past.

For the Korean peninsula, 2005 is also a significant year. This is the only region in the world that still remains divided. 60 years ago the Korean people were liberated from colonial oppression. But the jubilation did not last long, due to the territorial division that followed shortly after.

The division of the Korean peninsula was not our choice but imposed on us. It was the outcome of superpower conflict and we are the greatest victim of the cold war. The demarcation line dividing the Korean peninsula, which the United States and the Soviet Union agreed on in 1945, thereafter became the demarcation line that divided the world during the cold war era.

Despite the difficulties, Koreans were able to achieve great success, but a half-success only in the South. Standing against military dictatorship and authoritarianism, the Korean people attained genuine democracy, which is a model in the Asian region. We also achieved outstanding economic growth by all standards, so-called the "miracle of the Han River." Today, we are the 10th largest trading country in the world.

Now, the historical task ahead of us is to remove the cold war structure that still remains on the Korean peninsula. This signifies the removal of all remains of the Second World War while erasing the pain of division for the Korean people.


South Korea is pursuing a "peace initiative" to overcome our territorial division based on the following principles: first, there should not be another war on the Korean peninsula. We have already experienced a war in 1950. The war devastated the land, divided our people, and separated families. For us who remember the scar of the war, the military option should not be a choice.

The second principle is peaceful co-existence. Recognizing each other and solving the problems through dialogue is the core of this principle.

Third is the pursuit of common prosperity. We hope that North Korea will choose the path of sustainable economic development. Through such cooperative projects as the Gaesung Industrial Complex, we will create an environment that will bolster common prosperity.

Peace on the Korean peninsula, however, can materialize only if the North Korean nuclear issue is solved. In order to solve this problem, a six-party dialogue comprising South and North Korea, the United States, China, Russia and Japan began in 2003, and three rounds of talks were held so far.

However, the Six-Party Talks is at a deadlock since June 2004 because Pyongyang took issue with US policy toward North Korea. The fourth round is long overdue. It is time for the participating countries of the Six-Party Talks to put forward concrete proposals to be discussed at the negotiating table. And to break from the deadlock and advance the process, North Korea in particular, must make its strategic decision.

Pyongyang must not miss this chance and waste time. For North Korea, securing the regime may be its utmost priority. But it must realize that the nuclear development program would threaten the regime and not secure it.

Since 1990, North Korea has missed several opportunities. Now it must join the rest of the international community as a responsible member. The historical choice that North Korea makes by giving up its nuclear program will provide the chance for its regime survival and economic stability.

To encourage North Korea to give up its nuclear ambition, the forward-looking perspective of the United States is also important. The US needs to take on the negotiation with the North in a comprehensive approach.

In this regard, I welcome the position of the Bush II administration that the North Korean nuclear issue should be resolved diplomatically and in a peaceful manner through the Six-Party framework. Indeed, "the time for diplomacy is now," as remarked by Dr. Condoleezza Rice at her Senate confirmation hearing.

I recall the pragmatic diplomacy of President Nixon who made a historic visit to China in February 1972. The normalization of ties between the two countries not only led to the reform and opening but also improvement of the human rights situation in China. In contrast, the containment policy against Cuba has not worked yet.

To encourage North Korea to become a member of the international community, economic cooperation and engagement are more effective than military pressure or containment.

Once North Korea starts to give up its nuclear program, South Korea will provide large-scale economic support for North Korea. The plan will go beyond the three existing cooperation projects, i.e., the Gaesung Industrial Complex, Kumkang-san tourism project, and the railroad and road links.

First, once inter-Korean dialogue resumes, South Korea is willing to pursue comprehensive cooperation in the field of agriculture, which was stressed as one of the priority economic fronts in North Korea's New Year's message. We will provide grain, fertilizers, agricultural machinery and equipment, among others, to help ease North Korea's agricultural problems. In addition, we also have plans to provide systematic support and cooperation for creating agricultural infrastructure, increasing agricultural production, and improving agricultural structure.

With the resolution of the nuclear problem, multilateral support can also be made in the area of energy, which is vital for the revival of North Korea's economy. We can also provide further assistance to repair their railroad system, modernize their harbors, and enhance human resources.

The advancement of the Gaesung Industrial Complex is also very important. Gaesung, which is just north of the demilitarized zone (DMZ), is a historic city; but it is also the symbol of our division and tragedy. South Korean companies are constructing factories there.

We are still at the beginning stage, but once established, this industrial complex will be a symbol of South/North cooperation and common prosperity. We have the grand vision of creating a competitive economic zone in Northeast Asia by combining the production capacity of Guesung along with the distribution capacity of Inchon port and airport, and the financial capacity in Seoul.
This year marks the 5th anniversary of the historic inter-Korean summit meeting and the adoption of the South/North Joint Declaration. In the spirit of the Joint Declaration and based on the accomplishments of inter-Korean exchanges and cooperation, we must build a relationship that goes a step further.

The inter-Korean dialogue that is currently stalling must resume, restoring the ties between the two sides, in order to create a chapter of peace and prosperity in inter-Korean history.

The Six-Party Talks should look beyond the North Korean nuclear problem, and advance into a multilateral security cooperation system of the region.뀮뀍뀛꽲 Europe was able to institutionalize military cooperation among its members through the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. I look forward to seeing the Six-Party Talks become the OSCE of the Northeast Asian region.

It is my sincere hope that these changes will materialize in the near future, and in this sense, 2005 is significant.

The APEC summit meeting will be held in Korea in November of this year. I hope that the North Korean nuclear will substantially resolve and that the setting will be a historic moment where the end of the cold war on the Korean peninsula is declared before the entire world. I hope that the leaders who have worked for the solution of the nuclear problem will put forward a new future for the century.


Ladies and gentlemen,

Once in this divided city of Berlin, the great Korean composer Yun Isang agonized and aspired to see the reunification of his motherland. Maestro Yun lived to see the reunification of Berlin but he never saw the reunification of his land. His soul rests in this city Der Geist von Yun Isang noch bleibt in Berlin.

Today in Berlin I presented the vision of President Roh Moo-hyun's government of creating a Korean peninsula of peace and common prosperity overcoming the pain of division and war and putting behind the remains of the cold war. Berlin's dream came true. Yun Isang's dream will also come true.

Thank you very much.


Summary

Introduction

Before attending the Davos WEF in the capacity of presidential envoy, Unification Minister Chung Dong-young visited Germany of Friday to attend a symposium jointly held by the Free University of Berlin and the cultural promotion section of the Korean Embassy in Berlin. There he issued he announced through a keynote address Korea's strategy for peace on the Korean Peninsula and a historical choice.

About 150 German politicians, media personnel, scholars and Korean expatriates attended the symposium.

The address was significant in that at a time when a breakthrough is urgently needed amidst the continued stalemate in inter-Korean relations and the launch of U.S. President George W. Bush's second term, it presented to Korea and the outside world the Korean government's concepts for resolving the nuclear issue and developing inter-Korean relations from Berlin, the site of the 2000 Berlin Declaration that led to the first ever inter-Korean summit.

Major points

1) Expression of our hope and intention to end the Cold War on the Korean Peninsula.

As a historically important year marking the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II, the 60th anniversary of liberation and the fifth anniversary of the June 15 Joint Declaration, 2005 is a highly significant year for the Korean Peninsula.

For us, who have attained democracy and economic growth amidst the scars of war, division and poverty, our remaining task is to liquidate the Cold War legacy on the Korean Peninsula and launch a new history of reconciliation, cooperation and peace.

Through his speech, highlighted how Korea would launch end the Cold War on the Korean Peninsula and launch a new history by bringing to the attention of Europeans who have overcome their historical conflicts and tensions the significance of 2005 in terms of world and Korean history.

2. Three-point strategy to end the Cold War on the Korean Peninsula

To breakdown the Cold War structure on the Korean Peninsula and realize Korean coexistence and co-prosperity, we have to make the three following choices.

1) No war: We oppose a military solution to problems on the Korean Peninsula
2) Peaceful coexistence: Ending conflict between systems and policies of competition. Solving problems through dialogue.
3) Co-prosperity: Creating an atmosphere for North Korea to change on its own.

Recognizing that there are an infinite number of opinions in the international system concerning the issue of the North Korean system, through the concrete presentation of South Korea's choices pertaining to North Korea policy, Chung sought to rouse international opinion and demand understanding and support.

3) Three tasks to resolve the North Korean nuclear issue.

Under the three-point strategy listed above, he presented three urgent tasks to peacefully resolve the North Korean nuclear issue.

Firstly, the fourth round of six-party talks must by convened quickly and substantive negotiations begun. Secondly, North Korea must stop missing opportunities and make a strategic choice to abandon nuclear weapons. Thirdly, the U.S. must make a choice to change course and hold full-scale negotiations with the North through a comprehensive approach.

Through this, we hope for substantive progress in the North Korean nuclear issue, and we look forward to being able to declare and end of the Cold War on the Korean Peninsula along with other world leaders at the APEC summit to be held in Busan in November of this year.

His address stressed once again a realistic solution based on the results of President Roh's speech in LA and his tour diplomacy last year.

In particular, at a very important period with the start of U.S. President Bush's second term, by stressing the need for North Korea to make a strategic decision and the U.S. role in leading Pyongyang to make such a decision, one can say Chung's address revealed the Korean government's firm intention to break through the current stalemate.

Elaborating, Chung mentioned how Sino-U.S. ties normalized after then U.S. President Nixon visited China in 1972, and stressed that improvements in the U.S.-North Korean relationship were pivotal in improving the human rights situation in North Korea, as demanded by the U.S. and the international community.

We can say this is inline with comments made by President Roh that have stressed that improving relations with Pyongyang and economic development would be more effective in improving human rights in the North.

During his summit with British Prime Minister Tony Blair on Dec. 2, President Roh said that when one looked at how the human rights situation in China and Vietnam improved through reform and opening up, one needed to approach North Korea's human rights situation by encouraging Pyongyang to change, and to do this, support from the international community was required.

4. Comprehensive and concrete expression of support for North when it abandons its nuclear program

The government has made been materializing its "comprehensive and concrete support plan" that President Roh announced on the fourth anniversary of the June 15 Joint Declaration.

That plan would not be simply an expansion of the three economic cooperation projects currently underway, but would also include plans to develop inter-Korean relations on a new level by developing inter-Korean economic cooperation another step.

Firstly, in order to assist the agricultural sector in which North Korea is concentrating its efforts, the government plans to push comprehensive agricultural cooperation this year, including food, fertilizer and agricultural implement assistance and projects to improve the country's agricultural system and the basis of its agricultural industry.

Once the North Korean nuclear issue shows signs of progress, the South will push plans for cooperation in the energy sector, expanding transportation and delivery infrastructure like improving railways and ports, and through complex economic zones, expand and develop the Gaesong Industrial Zone.

In order to materialize this plan, a breakthrough in the North Korean nuclear program was more important than anything else, and from the point of view that substantive inter-Korean negotiations were necessary, a restart of inter-Korean dialogue was demanded.

5) A demand to restarting dialogue to normalize the inter-Korean relationship

The Korean government has expressed regret on several occasions about the suspension of inter-Korean dialogue since the later half of last year.

This is year is a deeply significant one as it marks the fifth anniversary of the convening of the 2000 inter-Korean summit and the adoption of the June 15 Joint Declaration.

Through joint efforts for peace and cooperation in accordance with the spirit of he June 15 Joint-Declaration, he looked forward to North and South Korea presenting hope for the future of the Korean people and holding a common vision.

Chung stressed that he hoped the North Korea would quickly agree to restart inter-Korean dialogue, normalize the inter-Korean relationship and make a strategic choice to form a cooperative relationship of peace and prosperity

©2005 OhmyNews

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