Park: The Korean War was neither a civil war nor international war. Particularly, it was not a civil war as the root cause of the war was the great powers having divided and occupied the peninsula. On top of that, Stalin of the Soviet Union and Mao Zedong of China were directly involved in the decision to initiate the war, and major war-related policies were determined in Washington, Tokyo, Moscow and Beijing. This holds true with the ending of the war. A civil war is a fight over who would represent one society in a country like the English, American, Russian, Spanish and Chinese Civil Wars.
The Korean War was a “war of world citizens.” Koreans were world citizens who experienced a world conflict, namely the Cold War, at its forefront. The Korean War was a microcosm where that global conflict exploded. It was virtually a world war. Yet, it did not escalate into World War III.
“First and foremost, Seoul should establish a consistent internal perspective and policy toward North Korea and reunification. Just crafting reunification scenarios is not a top priority,” Park, 49, said.
Park: The process approaches problems in a reverse order. The level of regional cooperation on non-political sectors in Northeast Asia have come close to that of Europe and the North American region. Regional exchanges in trade, economy, investment, tourism, people and culture are nearing some type of regional integration. I can hardly imagine how the Park government can foster regional trust and multilateral cooperation by adding more items to that list, such as climate change, terrorism and nuclear safety. It may have little impact. It is because the region has failed to build any trust in the areas of politics, history and security despite the high level of regional cooperation.
The centerpiece is the trust and cooperation in areas of politics, the military, security and history. I hope President Park will demonstrate her capability to enhance and lead innovative multilateral cooperation in these areas in a way that encompasses North Korea, Japan, China, the U.S. and Russia.
Park: The trust and the alliance between South Korea and the U.S. have remained unwavering when it comes to North Korean nuclear issues. Thus, the more talks Seoul or Washington have with the North, the better things will become. What the North seeks through talks is by no means crucial. As long as the allies agree on what to offer and take from the North through dialogue with the North, it does not matter whichever side holds talks with the North.
Park Myung-lim (Park Hae-mook/The Korea Herald)