Gateway to Inter-Korean Summits
Winston Churchill coined the term “summit” in the early 1950s to define meetings between leaders of great powers in the Cold War. While summits have allowed needed personal contacts for leaders, they may result in an illusion of mutual understanding. As the Lee Myung-bak administration comes to a close, the issue of a North-South summit has again been raised in light of North Korea’s disclosure of the secret inter-Korea meetings in Beijing, where North Korea alleged that South Korea offered cash in return for a series of summits. With tensions and provocations between the two sides at a new high and South Korea’s demand for an apology for the acts of last year unmet, the leak raises the question of the timing and utility of a summit.