Former unification minister frustrated by missed opportunities


Chung says anti-North sentiment has been exploited for political purposes


There’s a scene in Kim Jong-dae’s Roh Moo-hyun: Across the Threshold of an Era, when former President Roh’s Minister of Unification Chung Dong-young’s frustration boils over.

In the book Chung, who also served as Roh National Security Council Chairman, reacts to then-foreign minister (and current UN Secretary General) Ban Ki-moon’s skepticism toward a peace treaty with North Korea – on the grounds that it might undermine the South Korea-U.S. alliance – by shouting at Ban and banging on a desk.

Though he calls the scene “more or less exaggerated,” Chung is a stalwart proponent of more engagement with the North. He has known successes in this effort: As National Security Council chairman, he persuaded hawkish former U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to cooperate in the building of the Kaesong Industrial Zone in 2004. In June 2005, as unification minister, he met Kim Jong Il in Pyongyang, preparing the way for in the Joint Statement of September 19 that year.

Now a senior adviser in the Democratic Party, he is also outspoken in his frustration with those he considers responsible for letting opportunities for diplomacy with the North slip away, or who stoked anti-North sentiment for political gain.

(read more at NK News)

Leave a Reply