Go to contents

Turbulence in the Korean Peninsula

Posted February. 03, 2002 01:47,   


Tension is intensifying in the Korean peninsula as North Korea expressed strong opposition against U.S. president George W. Bush’s State of the Union Address, which called North Korea as part of `the axis of evil` and warned against its weapons of mass destruction (WMD). The upset nation called the address an `actual declaration of war`.

Such tension between North Korea and the U.S. is expected to bring negative effects to the South Korean government, which is attempting to resume inter-Korean dialogues starting with the Korea-U.S. summit conference scheduled on the 20th.

North Korea’s central broadcasting station and Pyongyang station reported on the 1st that the Foreign Affairs spokesman released a statement on the 31st saying, "There has not been such direct threat against our sovereign nation by the U.S. president in recent history between North Korea and the U.S. It is actually a declaration of war against us."

The spokesman also warned, "We are watching America’s actions closely, as it gave up talks and negotiations to make war. Taking an offensive stance is not only America’s option."

The South Korean government assesses the situation as potentially having a negative effect on the cooperation between Korea and the U.S. cooperation on North Korean measures, and the Foreign Affairs and Trade minister Han Seung-Su is reported to have persuaded the U.S. to take the lead in the North Korea-U.S. dialogues in a conference with the U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell on early morning of February 2nd (Korean time).

While negotiating for improvements in NK-U.S.A. relationship, the government will request President Bush`s strong support for the `Sunshine-policy` at summit conference on February 20.

National Security Adviser Condoleeza Rice attended the American Conservative Union meeting, which was held in Virginia on the 31st, last month, and criticized, "As the world’s No. 1 ballistic missile seller, North Korea is making deals regardless of the buyers’ evil intentions."

Also, the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) released a report titled `U.S.-ROK Relation Analysis of the 4th Quarter, 2001`, and analyzed that the Korean peninsula is under the wind of the U.S.-led war against terror.

The reported pointed out, "Although the actual war happened far from the peninsula, its national security affairs became complicated by America’s need for new military diplomacy, Korea-U.S alliance, Bush’s strong utterances, and North Korea’s reaction against them."

Ki-Heung Han eligius@donga.com