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[Editorial] North Korea Going in Wrong Direction

Posted November. 24, 2002 23:00,   


North Korea’s recent attitudes are somewhat inconsistent. It is doing what it did as a troublemaker, including breaking its promises with the South. It is reported to have decided to adopt the euro instead of the dollar as its foreign currency. It is like the North is running a risk of the move’s possible side effects in the worst economic situation ever. We cannot but worry about its leadership’s recklessness in this move.

It is a severe breach of the promise it made with South Korea that it rejected the verification of the land mine removal work in the demilitarized zone. The mine retrieval work is a symbolic agreement between the two Koreas as part of the linking railways broken in Gyeongui-line and Donghae-line. First it raised questions over the verification procedure, thereby delaying the land removal work, and in the end, it flatly rejected the mutual verification procedure. It cited the intervention of the UN Command as an excuse. However, it is very doubtful that it had decided to remove mines in the first place. Against this backdrop, the North argument that it finished all the removal work except the areas within just 100 meters from the Military Demarcation Line is not trustworthy.

Because of the North’s rejection of the verification, the original schedule of opening temporary roads along the two railways by the year’s end seems not possible. This is Pyongyang’s response to Seoul’s act to have provided equipment and materials to it. Instead of complaining about the delayed opening of the roads, the South Korean government should figure out what the North’s intention is.

Even the North Korean official media’s report that the two Koreas should join hands in response to the nuclear issue is not at all helpful to the inter-Korean relations. It is only a farfetched argument to fool the South. Blaming the nuclear crisis it created on the US, the North is arguing that if a nuclear war occurs, the largest victims will be the two Koreas. Through this argument, it is passing the buck to the US and on the other hand, it is threatening South Korean people.

If the communist country continues to breach promises and take deceitful attitudes, it could lose its footing in the end. If it loses other countries’ mere confidence in it, no country will come out to rescue it. The North is certain to be going in the wrong direction.