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N. Korea should stop isolating itself

Posted April. 05, 2017 07:17,   

Updated April. 05, 2017 07:23


The U.S. House of Representatives on Monday passed legislation calling for relisting North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism and a resolution condemning North Korea's intercontinental ballistic missile development. The House overwhelmingly passed the legislation and the resolution on a fast track just five days after its foreign relations committee endorsed them, indicating Congress’s bipartisan hardline stance against North Korea. Considering that there had been only three countries – Iran, Sudan and Syria -- on the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism, the relisting of the North has a significant symbolic effect of labeling the North as a “rogue state.”

It is belated to relist the North as a state sponsor of terrorism. The North was put on the U.S. terrorism sponsor list in January 1988 for its midair bombing of a Korean Airlines flight a year earlier. It was taken off the list in November 2008 under the October 3, 2007 agreement on disabling the North Korean nuclear facilities and reporting all of Pyongyang’s nuclear programs. However, the North conducted four additional nuclear tests in total disregard of the agreement. In March 2013, Pyongyang conducted a large-scale cyber terror attack on South Korea’s broadcasting and financial networks. In February this year, the North assassinated its leader’s half-brother Kim Jong Nam with a poison attack. Pyongyang has disrespected and abused the international community’s good expectations. In other words, the international community played into the hand of Pyongyang.

According to the April 3 edition of the New York Times, North Korea ran an online advertisement for the sale of lithium 6, which is used to turn an ordinary atom bomb into a hydrogen bomb, raising the possibility of the North’s nuclear materials finding their way into the hand of terror organizations. Reportedly, the raw materials for lithium 6 are mercury and lithium hydroxide imported from China. This proves that China is the channel for the North’s nuclear development.

What is the most important in preventing the North’s nuclear development and terror attacks is China’s cooperation. Although Beijing declared a halt to importing North Korean coals in February this year, ships carrying North Korean coals are still coming in and going out of Chinese ports. This is why international sanctions on the North are not working. The China-led six-party talks on the North’s denuclearization only gave more time for Pyongyang to develop its nuclear weapons.

U.S. President Donald Trump told the Financial Times on April 2 that “if China is not going to solve North Korea, we will.” The resolution to the North’s nuclear issue to be discussed between Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping this week should be totally different from those of the past. Pyongyang should no longer isolate itself by continuing its nuclear weapons development and terrorism.