Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

KOREA Time to Act

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

KOREA Time to Act

Article excerpt

There is no reason for North and South Korea to remain enemies.

The Cold War ended a decade ago, and there is growing evidence that people in both countries want reunification -- or, at least free movement across the border.

That is why three days of top-level meetings, scheduled to begin Monday in Seoul, are so important. The agenda includes reunions of separated families, cross-border transportation and economic cooperation -- important steps aimed at sowing the seeds of reconciliation.

Time is of the essence, however. South Korean President Kim Dae-jung will leave office soon, and a scandal involving his sons has left his party's image so tarnished that harder-line opposition is expected to win a December election to replace him.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il seems eager. He has made overtures toward the United States and Japan in recent weeks, as well as to Kim Dae-jung. He has expanded athletic ties between the North and South -- and, in a sharp contrast to his country's traditional belligerence -- expressed regret over the recent naval battle in a disputed area of the Yellow Sea. …

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