September 03, 2009 09:59
Unification Minister Hyun In-taek on Wednesday said North Korea's recent charm offensive toward the U.S. and South Korea represents "tactical changes" but notably omits the most important issue. "I think the conciliatory gestures represent tactical rather than any fundamental changes because despite some differences in its attitude, North Korea has not budged on the six-party talks and the nuclear issue."
He made the remarks in a keynote speech at a National Assembly seminar hosted by the National Unity Forum, a fraternity of Grand National Party lawmakers. "Although North Korea has lifted various kinds of curbs in inter-Korean business, we still have doubts whether it has made fundamental changes," he said.
"I don't think North Korea has taken a very forward-looking attitude by lifting the curbs. They were lifted on matters that had already been agreed on [between the two sides]. Everything was belatedly put back on track."
Hyun called for inter-Korean issues to be solved based on national consensus. "Any North Korea policy not based on such consensus is meaningless," he said.
Recalling his meeting with a North Korean delegation during the funeral for former President Kim Dae-jung, he said it was remarkable "as the first such meeting between senior government officials from both Koreas since the new government's inauguration. This was nothing but a small first step. I believe how the first step will lead to a bigger development depends on North Korea."
"How inter-Korean relations will develop will depend on whether North Korea really has the intention to find a solution to the nuclear issue. I repeatedly emphasized to the North Korean delegation that the solution is urgent and essential to peace on the Korean Peninsula," he added.
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