Wednesday, August 08, 2007

i wonder How Much This One Will COST?

North and South Korea announced Wednesday that their leaders will hold their second-ever summit this month, reprising the historic 2000 meeting that launched unprecedented reconciliation between the two longtime foes.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Il and South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun will meet Aug. 28-30 in Pyongyang, North Korea's capital, South Korean presidential security adviser Baek Jong-chun told reporters.

At the only other such North-South summit, Kim met then-South Korean President Kim Dae-jung in June 2000, also in Pyongyang.

North Korea also released a statement confirming an agreement on the summit signed Sunday between the heads of the two countries' intelligence agencies.

"The meeting between the top leaders of the North and the South will be of weighty significance in opening a new phase of peace on the Korean peninsula," the statement said, according to the North's official Korean Central News Agency.

"The second inter-Korean summit will contribute to substantially opening the era of peace and prosperity between the two Koreas," South Korea's presidential office said in a statement.

The two Koreas remain technically at war since the 1950-53 Korean War ended in a cease-fire, not a peace treaty, but the 2000 meeting led them to embark on economic cooperation projects and hold reunions of families split by their shared border — the world's most heavily fortified.

Kim Dae-jung won a Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to engage North Korea through his so-called sunshine policy.

However, the first summit's achievements were tainted by later revelations that the South Korean government made secret payments to foster the meeting.

Kim Jong Il believed the timing was right for a second meeting due to the state of relations between the two Koreas and the improved regional situation, South Korean National Intelligence Service head Kim Man-bok quoted his North Korean counterpart as saying earlier this month. Kim Man-bok twice visited the North to arrange the summit.

Kim Jong Il promised in 2000 to make a return visit to South Korea for a summit, but it appeared security concerns made that impossible for this month's meeting. Kim Man-bok said North Korea had proposed Pyongyang as the venue and that Roh accepted it. Kim rarely travels abroad, and leaves the country solely via train.

The two sides will work out the agenda for the summit this month in meetings at the North Korean border city of Kaesong, site of a joint industrial park that is one of the most tangible achievements from the 2000 meeting.

At the first summit, Kim Jong Il warmly greeted his South Korean counterpart on the tarmac immediately upon landing, showing a human side of the reclusive North Korean leader known for his trademark jumpsuit and sunglasses.

The summit comes at a time of optimism on the peninsula as North Korea has made strides in abandoning its nuclear weapons program, including shutting down its sole operating nuclear reactor last month in exchange for oil aid. The United States and other regional powers are negotiating with North Korea on a timeline for the communist nation to declare all its nuclear programs and disable the facilities.

Roh has repeatedly said that he would meet with Kim at any time and any place and there has been persistent talk this year that a North-South summit was possible. The conservative opposition blasted such potential plans, however, calling them an election ploy ahead of South Korea's December presidential vote.

Roh is set to leave office in February and has seen his popularity plummet amid perceptions he has bungled handling of the economy and security policies.


Associated Press writer Kwang-tae Kim contributed to this report.


The Blue House has just announced that Pres. Roh will make a state visit to Pyongyang from Aug. 28th ~ 30th and hold a summit with North Korean leader Kim Jeong-il.

There has been speculation in this blog regarding the visit and it has now become reality. Although I doubt it, if there is some sort of breakthrough during the talks, fine by me. But if this is an attempt by the current administration to leave something of a legacy for Pres. Roh, while increasing Uri’s chances before the elections, and if this involved a huge payment to the North, then I’m afraid that this visit is nothing more than an expensive publicity stunt.

UPDATE 1 (by Robert Koehler): Here’s the link to theYonhap (Korean) breaking news report. Apparently Cheong Wa Dae and North Korea’s KCNA announced the upcoming summit simultaneously. Ain’t that special?


Unable to find a Taliban leader senior enough to surrender to, Roh turns to the next worst thing.


“Can you smell it? That’s a Nobel Peace Prize cooking.”

It’s unlikely that the Nobel committee will fall for that trick twice.

How much do you figure Roh will give to Kim Jong Il in order to secure a visit to Seoul before his time is up?

R. Elgin

There are so many things one could say about this but I think I can safely say that the average South Korean will not be impressed at all, especially considering Roh’s tenure, the revelation of KDJ’s money-for-summit deal and the North’s steady provocations.

If the north and south wanted to talk, they can do so without such a visit. This is pure political show.


Well, this is what I normally say: the more exchanges, the better even if it means compromising. But in the case of a summit there are three important considerations. This summit is exclusively a pre-election trick, do not forget this. Normal summit would be a good idea, but it should be planned carefully and hold in Seoul or other location outside Pyongyang.

1) Roh and his group are pressed by their low ratings, and this means they will make far more concessions than necessary. There might be illegal payments again, and a lot of other things the South Korean public will not learn about any time soon (until after the elections, at least).

2) A visit by a South Korean leader is supporting the new assertions of NK propaganda. Now the NK propaganda-mongers admit that South is relatively influent, but they strill insist that it is spiritually corrupt, so the Southerners are looking to KJI as the only hope for their moral redemption. They presented Kim Dae Jung’s trip as a visit to submit tribute, and they will do this again. It is especially important that the summit will take place in Pyongyang. Within NK symbolism this is clearly a sigh of an inferior position.

3) There are almost no chances that the additional aid Pyongyang will receive will be subjected to any control by Seoul. This means that 90% of the aid will go to strengthen the system, e.g. to provide full rations to the security police and their families, to give some special rewards to the most zealous officials, to boost propaganda and the like.


and this will cost me how much?

According to Yonhap, President Roh will go to Pyongyang to meet with Kim Jong-il 28-30 August (Anyone care to speculate how much this summit cost?):

President Roh Moo-hyun will visit Pyongyang Aug. 28-30 to hold a summit meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-il, Roh’s office Cheong Wa Dae said in a statement Wednesday. “The two Koreas have agreed to hold a summit in Pyongyang Aug. 28-30. For the summit, Roh will remain in the North Korean capital for three days,” said the statement. “The second inter-Korean summit is expected to contribute to peace and prosperity on the Korean Peninsula. The talks will also provide momentum to settle the North Korean nuclear problem,” it said.

The U.S. was “surprised” by the announcement, but ”expressed deep interest”. Well, da prez needed something to bolster those numbers and this summit, if successful, will also give him something to be remembered by.


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