Leaders of the two Koreas met twice on Wednesday during their historic summit, but South Korean President Roh Moo-Hyun said it was hard to break through a "wall of mistrust." North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il invited Roh to extend his three-day visit by a day, but Roh declined. Still, South Korean officials, who hoped for disarmament concessions in exchange for economic aid, said the talks would end Thursday as a success.
As Kim and Roh talked, China announced that the countries involved in six-party talks that ended Sunday had agreed on a plan to disable North Korea's nuclear facilities by the end of the year. The U.S. is expected to remove North Korea from its terrorism list in return.
No matter what "grandstanding rhetoric" we hear from Kim, said the Seoul Korea Herald in an editorial, his big concern is securing as much economic help as he can. "As the leader of one of the most destitute countries in the world, he had to obtain as much aid from the well-to-do South as possible to feed, shelter and clothe his impoverished people." Kim should remember that if he hadn't broken a 1992 denuclearization accord, he wouldn't be in this fix.
At least both sides are being "civil," said The Seattle Times in an editorial. This is, after all, only the second time leaders from the North and the South have met since the Korean War was halted. “Admirable progress after so much blood, bluster, and nuttiness.”
There’s reason to hope for the best, said The Korea Times in an editorial. The "11th-hour" accord reached by the two Koreas -- along with the U.S., China, Japan, and Russia -- marked a breakthrough. Without this agreement, Kim and Roh would have been “stuck in nuclear quagmire too deeply to touch such future-oriented issues as reunification and co-prosperity.”
It’s hard to know how hopeful to be, said The Wall Street Journal in an editorial. The participants in the six-party talks didn’t sign a formal agreement, only a draft open to further comment. And North Korea was supposed to provide a full accounting of its nuclear program within 60 days under an agreement signed in February, and “we’re still waiting.” A little “transparency” would be nice.
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