Saturday, May 31, 2008

"Lee sends envoys to proclaim start of 'pragmatic diplomacy' "

On last January, Lee sent four representatives to United States, Japan, China, and Russia to "herald the advent of his pragmatism-oriented diplomacy." Lee sent his own brother, Representative Lee Sang-deuk, vice speaker of the National Assembly, Park Geun-hye, former chairwoman of GNP, Chung Mong-joon, and Lee Jae-oh will to Japan, China, US, and Russia, respectively. The letters that those envoys carried emphasized "his diplomatic policy direction and laying the ground for improving bilateral ties, according to officials at the transition team." The message was clear that unlike former President Roh, who claimed very anti-US diplomacy after his inauguration in 2003, Lee will be more pragmatic and friendly to those countries which play important role in terms of not only North Korea, but also economic development of South Korea. However, North Korea recently criticized Lee's pragmatism and claimed that there will be no progress if Lee keeps his pragmatic diplomacy towards North Korea. In addition, the North's most influential state-run daily, the Rodong Shinmun, claimed that it is almost criminal violence to insert pragmatism in relations with North Korea and "Lee ignored the reality and the special nature of inter-Korean relations when he took a "practical approach" toward the communist neighbor."

Lee's attitude towards North Korea probably didn't make North Korea very happy. Unlike last two presidents, Kim Dae-jung and Roh Moo-hyun, Lee seems tougher to negotiate in favor of North Korea. However, I personally believe that it's much better decision by Lee to negotiate with little bit of stubbornness rather than do whatever North Korea is asking. By inserting idea of pragmatism, Lee might actually see some progress with North Korea during his presidency.

No comments: