History beckons for Korea
In the midst of increasing problems with instability in the region,
the inter-Korean summit offers hope.
Sectarian violence is surging in Indonesia and the Philippines, and
there is increasing tension in the Pacific with the coup attempts
in Fiji and the Solomon Islands.
The situation in South Asia looks like it will get worse before it gets
better. The Tamil Tigers are locked in a bitter struggle with Sri Lankan
forces over the city of Jaffna. India would rather stay out of the war
as it still has major problems of its own, particularly in Jammu and
The hostility between North Korea and South Korea, both still
technically at war with each other, is one of the last vestiges
of the Cold War.
Since the bitter fighting of the Korean War, the country
has been divided between north and south. Many families have been torn apart ever since. On numerous occasions, fighting has flared
up between the two neighbors.
There are many who have questioned the intentions of the summit altogether. Opponents
claim that timing of the meeting so close to the elections was designed
to give the ruling party a boost at the polls.
One seriously hopes that is not the case, but even if true, it would not
rule out the possibility of a breakthrough occurring.
The most important factor with regard to the progress in the Asia Pacific region is peace.
Peace can be difficult to attain. There are many obstacles to the this
goal and in this case the problem is mostly ideological.
If the summit can solve these differences, the outlook for the
region will have brightened considerably despite the problems elsewhere.
Because none of the other conflicts was ever harder to crack than that
between the two Koreas.