What a difference the truth makes. Two years ago, your newspaper, among others, was heralding the 'Asian Nobel Peace Prize' won by President Kim Dae-Jung of South Korea for his breakthrough visit to Pyongyang, the crowning achievement of his 'sunshine policy'.
In addition, some newspapers were criticising the United States for not following this more conciliatory approach to the wretched regime of President Kim Jong-Il. You lectured President George W. Bush to learn from and be more like then-President Kim Dae-jung.
What a joke! Now we have found out exactly what happened: not a breakthrough or change of heart by the North Korean regime, but a US$100 million bribe resulting in a two-day photo-op for Kim Jong-il.
No one can fault Kim Dae-jung for trying everything he could to lure the North out of its self-imposed and suicidal isolation.
In addition, it should be no surprise that Kim Jong-il did what he has done countless times with attempts to help his poor country: he pocketed the cash and gifts and promptly reneged on his part of the bargain, including the reciprocal visit to the South. What is surprising is that some continue to berate the US for not pursuing this dead-end strategy. Trying to bribe the North into changing its ways with aid, cash or food has been proven time and again not to work.
One clinical definition of insanity is to repeat the same action over and over while expecting a different result to occur. President Bush and Secretary of State Colin Powell are absolutely right to refuse to continue this game of 'something for nothing' with North Korea.
Publications such as yours should wake up to the fact that the problem is not the US, or Japan or even the 'sunshine policy'. The problem is a morally bankrupt, yes 'evil', regime in the North, which has no problem with starving to death millions of its citizens and crippling its youth with malnutrition while spending food and monetary aid on its military and political elite.
If there is anything useful to come out of this 'Asian Nobel Peace Prize' farce, it is that we now know exactly the going price for a Nobel Peace Prize.
DANIEL GALINDAU, Repulse Bay
Foreign Relations of South Korea