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Model Six-Party Talks
President Lee' s Wish for Trade over Peace
By Abhishek Joshi
Associate Editor

The Year is 2012. North Korea has mellowed down and has agreed to join the six party talks. Thanks to the diplomacy efforts of President Obama and Prime Minister Hatoyama, all seems well. President Hu Jintao is surprised that two leaders, who supposedly lack the leadership skills, brought Kim Jong-Il on to the table. Russia is represented by Prime Minister Putin. Owing to an "urgent work," President Medvedev decided to stay in Moscow.

Even though Korean public is down with the recent developments, President Lee is very pleased with his accomplishments. Four River Restoration project is underway, much to the annoyance of the South Korean public. The President has been successful in ratifying the constitution and is all set to stand for a second term. Sejong city, in Chungcheongnam-do province, is flourishing with many universities, research centers and numerous Chaebols are all the more eager to have their share of this pie.

North Korea and South Korea are still at war. The opposition and much of the ‘liberal’ entourage blame President Lee’s hawkish policies for the non-unification of Korean peninsula. President Lee is dismayed. No, not because of non-unification but because he has been unable to ‘seal the deal’ i.e. pass Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with the US, China and Japan. President Lee hopes to have yet another feather in his cap before he goes for the elections.

Obama: Gentlemen and ‘Dear Leader’ Kim, I, the President of America, welcome you to this momentous occasion, which can pave the way for a unified Korea, that is in the interest of all your glorious nations and the US.

Hatoyama: Before the talks begin I want to reiterate my election promise that Japan, led by DPJ, has the courage to look at history squarely. We are ready to resolve all conflicts that other Asian nations have. We’ve come here to form a glorious East Asian community.

Kim Jong-Il (to himself): What a bunch of impractical optimists. I can easily deal with them. Thank God! Bush and Koizumi don’t represent America and Japan respectively anymore.

While other leaders are all busy with the drafts, President Lee is talking with his delegation.

Delegate Rep.: Sir, we should make a progress this time. You will make a history.

Lee: Yes, we should make a progress this time. It’s about time. I have been trying for the past three years.

Delegate Rep.: Sir, I have this draft with me. I wanted to discuss these two specific points about the unification.

Lee: Huh…unification? It will never happen. Kim Jong-Il is too stubborn.

Delegate Rep.: Unification will never happen? Then what is that you were talking about trying something from past three years, sir?

Lee: FTA with the US, China and Japan. Why else will I come here? Why else will I bring a bunch of economists as my delegates? If possible, I want to have a FTA with Russia too.

Delegate Rep.: But sir, all others have come for Six Party Talks. No one wants to speak about a FTA.

Lee: You have not done any research now, have you? All other delegates have a degree in economics. Most of them have degrees from ivy leagues. They may be with Obama and Hatoyama, but they are flamboyant capitalists.

Delegate Rep.: How do you know, sir?

Lee: I, ahem-ahem, my assistant googled them out.

Delegate Rep.: Sir, we use Naver and Daum. They give more information.

Lee: They are good only if you are searching for Korea and Koreans. For everything else, Google is best. You should know this by now. Anywise, let’s leave this topic. Let’s get to the mission for which I have brought you here.

Delegate Rep.: Sir, you never told us before.

Lee: You don’t need to know all. Just do as I say. I am the President, I make decisions. You just follow them. Try to learn a thing or two from Prime Minister Chung Un-chan.

Lee: All but two from the delegation will be divided into four groups. Each group will go to its target, ahem-ahem, I mean the delegates of other nations. Tell them that trading with Korea is good for their economies. I am ready to give a few concessions. Let the Chinese dump their goods, and Americans and Japanese their cars in our market.

Lee (to himself): My citizens are overly nationalists. Come what may, they will always buy Korean products. And, I can dump the Korean goods in the world market. My friends in Chabeols will be very happy. I am so good.

After five days.

Delegate Rep. (worriedly): Sir, there has been no progress. Other leaders are not happy.

Lee (tensed): Why? What happened? Didn’t they like my trade proposal? I have given them enough concessions. Korea is no more a hardcore protectionist economy.

Delegate Rep.: Sir, there is no problem with the trade deal. In fact other delegates liked your deal. They are eager to have final customary discussions and sign the deal. We got Russia too.

Lee: Huh. Then what’s the problem?

Delegate Rep.: Sir, the Six Party Talks have failed yet again. Americans and North Koreans have some serious disagreements.

Lee: I knew it. Kim Jong-Il is very stubborn. Others are foolish to believe him. Unification is a very tricky issue. There will be influx of millions of North Koreans ready to work at very low wages, much to the liking of my Chabeol friends.

Lee (with his imported scotch in hand): Anywise, this calls for the celebration. We never came here for unification. We came here for our hidden agenda, remember? We got it. Soon Korea will be a top-10 economy. We can easily touch the $35,000 GDP mark.

Delegate Rep.: But sir, the unification is also important. A unified Korea will be good for the world peace.

Lee: I know. Let me think about it during the next term. Now, don’t spoil the party. We got trade agreements with the US, China and Japan. Cheer up!

Lee (to himself): I am so good.

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Mr. Abhishek Joshi serves as associate editor of The Seoul Times. He graduated from the School of Electrical Engineering of Seoul National University. He was also a member of SNU Quill, first English magazine from Seoul National University, as a writer.






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