So a South Korean President visits Kim Jong Il for the second time. Kim Jong Il is clearly too scared to make the return trip as what was originally intended. Significant?
No, not really. You see President Roh Moo-hyun of South Korea is seeking re-election in December (something Kim Jong Il no doubt thinks is awfully quaint), and trying for a peace treaty in advance is meant to gain him popular support. He almost certainly wont raise the plight of the tens of thousands of men, women and children providing slave labour in the gulags. His policy of engagement is not about making North Korea lose face - and the North Korean media monopoly is making a huge deal out of the visit (although frankly the news item about the frogs making "good drug stuff" is funnier).
Kim Jong Il wants to split South Korea's loyalty from the USA - the only country seriously deterring a North Korean invasion, and he wants money, in one form or another, to keep propping up his slave state. There has been peace on the Korean peninsula since 1953, and the relative prosperity and freedom of South Korea (with a GDP 12 times the north when it was once about two thirds the size of the north) speaks volumes about the difference between capitalism and anti-capitalism.^
As i said before, any compromise between good and evil can only benefit evil - North Korea can not be trusted to reduce military tension - it is too well armed and secretive to be honest, and is addicted to lying (given it does so profusely to its own people). All you can trust North Korea to do is oppress its citizens and seek to undermine defence of South Korea.
South Korea should simply engage on fairly simple terms. Normalisation of relations when:
- North Korea verifiably destroys its nuclear programme;
- End to imprisonment of children, end to imprisonment of political prisoners by both sides, Red Cross monitoring of operation of all remaining prisons;
- A framework to allow divided families to be reunited by free choice in both directions, and return to their relative sides if they so wish.
of course North Korea wont allow any of this, remember North Korea and Burma get on very well too.