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U.S. Secretary of State Madeline Albright’s recent remark that “my glasses aren’t rose-colored” when it comes to North Korea has touched a deep chord in South Korea. The pace and productiveness of North-South exchanges has noticeably slowed since the summer, and off-again, on-again North-South meetings on economic and military cooperation and family reunions have taken the gloss off a successful summit, raising public concern and resulting in sharp criticism of the government for being overly solicitous of the North.

While this has been officially ascribed to “gridlock in Pyongyang,” there may be deeper causes at work, perhaps reminiscent of the kind of cold peace that currently prevails between Egypt and Israel. This is not a model Korea can afford to follow, although it will be difficult to avoid.

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