North Korean Envoys in Talks with South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak

Here’s an excerpt from Richard Lloyd Parry’s article in the Times Online, titled “North Korean envoys in talks with South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak”:

north korea

“If the South and the North genuinely try to resolve problems through dialogue, there will be no problems that cannot be resolved,” [South Korean President] Lee was quoted as having told his visitors, who flew back to Pyongyang soon after the meeting and did not attend the funeral itself. “[The North Korean delegation] expressed its gratitude for allowing the meeting and suggested both sides can co-operate and resolve [problems],” Mr Lee’s spokesman said.

It was the first time that North Korea had sent official mourners for a South Korean president, reflecting the importance of the late Kim Dae Jung in the history of relations between the two states. Mr Kim was the architect of the so-called “Sunshine Policy” which, in contrast to that of the current Government, sought to engage the North with joint projects, direct negotiation and aid.

Read the rest of the article here.

I continue to be intrigued by the context of mourning and shared mourning as the basis for conversations between enemies. I argued in Holy War, Holy Peace and also in Between Eden and Armageddon that shared mourning is an important path of peacebuilding based on the evidence on the ground of the Jewish/Arab conflict. But the evidence is that mourning brings some people together, like the Parents Circle, and drives others to revenge. Why is still a mystery to me.

© Marc Gopin