Thursday, February 2, 2006

Kim Daejung 2, Kim Jong-il 0

Reuters is reporting that Seoul and Pyongyang are in talks to allow former South Korean President Kim Daejung to visit North Korea in April. , an aide to Kim said on Thursday.

According to an aide:
Kim Dae-jung hopes to visit Pyongyang by train some time in April. The South Korean government has relayed that wish to the North.
The Dear Leader has yet to reciprocate Kim Daejung's visit, even though this was apparently promised. He probably fears what might happen to him while he's here, or perhaps what will happen to his control while he's away.

The visit in June 2000 was as controversial as it was historic. My Halmŏni told me President Kim should be thrown in jail for treason, while others thought that it heralded a future of peace.

"Peace in our time," is how one person put it, with a note of sarcasm.

Kim later won a Nobel Peace prize in part for orchestrating the unprecedented and so far unrepeated meeting of the leaders of the two Koreas, which set the stage for greater inter-Korean cooperation, including work to relink roads and railway lines through the fortified Demilitarized Zone border that has split the peninsula since the 1950-53 Korean War.

But critics of "Sunshine Policy" said the visit was made possible by a bribe amounting to about $10 per South Korea resident. That and the fact that there is little or no reciprocity for what the South provides the North have led to a great deal of criticism against Kim Daejung and especially his successor, President Roh Moohyun and his preening former Unification Minister, Chung Dong-young, who arguably have distorted Kim Daejung's original intent to the point that Roh-style Sunshine Policy revolves around bending over backwards to not offend the North. Often to the point of going against the South's very interests and causing its alliances to deteriorate.

[photo: North Korea strongman Kim Jong-il and then ROK President Kim Daejung embrace at Sunan Airport near Pyongyang. Though it went undetected at the time, the Dear Leader, in an adept sleight of hand, apparently stole Kim Daejung's wallet, which contained a $200 million check and some family photos.]

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