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Last Updated: Friday, 5 October 2007, 14:51 GMT 15:51 UK
Viewpoints: Inter-Korean summit
The leaders of North and South Korea have agreed to seek a permanent peace deal on the Korean Peninsula.

The agreement, at summit talks in Pyongyang, came a day after it was announced the North had agreed steps to end its nuclear plans.

Here, readers in South Korea discuss whether the latest developments signal a desire for North Korea to come in from the cold or just another raised hope that will end in disappointment.

JAE-WOONG JEON, 31, STUDENT, SEOUL

Jae-Woong Jeon
Jae-Woong Jeon think it is better to talk than do nothing
Right now in Korea there are opposing views on the summit's outcome. The older generation, including my parents, are not so pleased. They are not happy that so much money is being given to North Korea. They think that President Roh is trying to get more support from the younger generation ahead of the elections.

I personally think that it's better to talk to them than to do nothing. And it's not a huge amount of money considering the strength of the South Korean economy.

The money will help the regime, but it will also help a fraction of the ordinary people.

The peace deal with North Korea is quite symbolic, but I don't think it will bring concrete results. As for the nuclear agreement - I can't believe that they will dismantle their nuclear facilities. They are trying to maintain the status quo, which is the best option for them. The nuclear programme is their biggest card and they are not going to give it up easily.

The future of the peninsula now depends less on North Korea and more on who is going to govern South Korea, as that will determine the approach towards the regime in the North.

RO JUNG-YUN, 38, SOFTWARE PROGRAMMER, BUSAN

Ro Jungyun
Ro Jungyun: North Korea can't be trusted
We can never trust North Korea. Kim Jong-il is a criminal, he kills his own people.

North Korea needs financial help, and South Korea gives them what they want - this is what's happening. I don't want our government to give money to this evil regime.

Every agreement with the dictator will prolong his stay in power. And if you listen to what defectors from North Korea say, he should be punished.

On the other hand, a peace agreement is good for South Korea. The economy will be more stable, when there's no military threat.

The whole summit is some kind of strategy for our politicians, as there are elections coming up. Still, it's better to talk to the North Koreans than do nothing.

We don't even have a choice. Kim Jong-il is a very powerful dictator and he is the only one we can talk to in North Korea. We can't reach the ordinary people.

But we have to remember, that he is very unreliable. He has promised many things in the past and we are yet to see those promises fulfilled.

SO-IL HONG, RESEARCH INSTITUTE, SEOUL

So-il Hong
So-il Hong questions the motives for the summit
South Korean views on the 2007 summit are clearly divided. The two leaders succeeded in expanding the inter-Korean economic co-operation and reducing military tensions.

The joint pledge to replace the current armistice with a peace deal is a positive step for reconciliation.

But everybody is asking the question, what were President Roh's and Chairman Kim's motives to hold the summit? The public is no longer that eager about pouring money in North Korea and it seems that President Roh had something on his mind when he decided to go ahead with the summit months before the elections.

As for Kim Jong-il, he might have thought that with a possible new administration in South Korea, he might not be able to receive the kind of aid he did under the current administration.

Many South Koreans were disappointed that the two leaders did not discuss the nuclear issue, the abductees and the prisoners of war issues in detail. The nuclear issue is a bilateral as well as a multilateral issue.

Whether North Korea will truly honour the agreement from the six party talks will depend mainly on North Korea-US relations. If the United States delivers what it promised, then North Korea will most likely take the steps as agreed.

KIM JINWOO, 33, CIVIL SERVANT, SEOUL

Since I heard that the leaders of the two Koreas were going to meet, I have tried not to read newspapers or watch the news on TV. As I made up my mind to vote for the conservative party, I've decided that I don't want to be interrupted by the political show. But I couldn't help following what is happening in my home country.

I vividly remember the day when Kim Dae-jung and Kim Jung-il shook hands in 2000. But I also remember soon afterwards the news of a Korean battleship being sunk by a North Korean ship in a border incident that cost the lives of the soldiers on board.

Today, North Korea seems willing to abandon its nuclear programme and make peace deals with South Korea. But I bet that sooner or later we will hear the news about conflicts at the DMZ (demilitarised zone) and new threats to the US.

Most citizens of South Korea, including myself, have this dilemma. I can't tell my neighbours that I am happy with the summit's outcome - it will create the impression that I am a communist. But I can't say that I am opposed to this dubious purpose-driven meeting, as I'll sound like I am against reunification. Many Koreans are reticent about discussing this issue.

GINA LEE, 22, STUDENT, SEOUL

Gina Lee
Gina Lee: The Sunshine Policy did not work
As a South Korean, it is impossible to ignore what's happening north of the 38th Parallel, especially if one has relatives there. When I heard the news of a second Inter-Korea summit I had a small glimmer of hope that perhaps this time it might achieve something.

I am now sceptical of the articles giving it glowing reviews. The peace agreement will bring peace to the Korean Peninsula only if North Korea takes it seriously. Given its track record, I am not optimistic that this will happen unless the North Korean government sees an incentive to do so. How soon this will be is anyone's guess.

My confidence that North Korea will keep its promise to shut down its nuclear facilities is also not very high. There is too much at stake for North Korea in this programme.

I am a critic of the Sunshine Policy as it has been ineffective at achieving its goal of rapprochement with North Korea. I am hoping our next president will implement a more successful and sensible policy.



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The two leaders shake hands on a deal



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