N. Korea’s Kim speaks of peace
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Tuesday called for an end to the “confrontation” with rival South Korea in what appeared to be an overture to the incoming South Korean president as she was cobbling together South Korea’s new policy on the North.
The New York Times
SEOUL, South Korea — North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Tuesday called for an end to the “confrontation” with rival South Korea in what appeared to be an overture to the incoming South Korean president as she was cobbling together South Korea’s new policy on the North.
North Korea issued a major policy statement on New Year’s Day, following a tradition set by Kim’s grandfather, North Korean founder Kim Il Sung, and continued by his father, Kim Jong Il, who died in December 2011.
Although Kim inherited the central policies of his father, outside analysts see him as trying to distance himself from his father’s ruling style. Kim Jong Il was more feared than respected among his people, and his rule was marked by a major famine.
“A basic precondition to improving North-South relations and advancing national reunification is to honor and implement North-South joint declarations,” Kim Jong Un said Tuesday, referring to agreements, signed in 2000 and 2007, when two South Korean presidents, Kim Dae-jung and Roh Moo-hyun, were pursuing a “Sunshine Policy” of reconciliation and economic cooperation.
Billions of dollars of South Korean investment, aid and trade flowed into the North. Billions more were promised in investments in shipyards and factory parks, as the South Korean leaders believed that economic goodwill was the best way of encouraging North Korea to shed its isolation and hostility while reducing the economic gap and the cost of reunification in the future.
But when conservative President Lee Myung-bak came to power in 2008, he suspended any large aid or investment because of the lack of progress toward dismantling the North’s nuclear-weapons programs.
The incoming leader of South Korea, Park Geun-hye, of Lee’s conservative party, did not immediately respond to the speech.
Earlier, North Korea called her a “confrontational maniac” and “fascist.” But since her election, it has refrained from attacking her.