It’s good to see a world leader show some integrity. Integrity in the offices of the leaders of countries is a hard thing to find. South Korea’s President Lee Myung-bak has offered an olive branch to North Korea, but he hasn’t just offered it on any basis. Lee has indicated that North Korea must get real on their nuclear program, their relations with South Korea and treat their own people right.
Associated Press writer Kelly Olsen has posted an article titled “Lee wants ‘sincere attitude’ from North.” Of course, my first thought is, “Good luck!”
What brings Lee out with his comments is the fact that the North Koreans have just celebrated the “65th anniversary of the ruling Worker’s Party.” I doubt many of the real workers were at the event out of joy as much as expectation, but that’s just the opinion of an often-disappointed Westerner.
As Olsen reports, North Korea’s Kim Jong Un stepped into view as the heir apparent to his father, Kim Jong II. Jong II has been a tough leader, and a lot of fear has come out of North Korea under his leadership.
The most recent shenanigan was when North Korea allegedly (but I believe they did it) torpedoed a South Korean warship and then denied it. We forget that the Korean War never ended, and is still just under an essential truce.
Currently, the relations between North and South have been tense. Why? South Korea has gotten tired of the occasional bullying and, with support of the United States, has tied aid — or the lack thereof — to North Korea’s good behavior, or, to be cute, lack thereof. This has made North Korea angry, so they rattle their sabers.
I think that President Lee is brilliant in his timing and message in this situation. He is banking that perhaps Kim Jong Un isn’t his father and may be more progressive.
The problem with dealing with a North Korea is they are political infants. They don’t know how to send a political message. They think (allegedly) blowing a warship out of the water will get them world recognition, and it does, but not in the right way.
It will be interesting to see what the result of President Lee Myung-bak’s message will be.
Associated Press Website, Kelly Olsen, “SKorea’s Lee wants “sincere attitude” from North”