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[Editorial] Should Be More Prudent after the “Roh-Bush Summit”

[Editorial] Should Be More Prudent after the “Roh-Bush Summit”

Posted November. 22, 2004 23:07,   


The reason the outcome of the Korea-U.S. summit to resolve the North Korea nuclear issue peacefully within the framework of the six-party talks is positively evaluated is because of the subtle timing, which was made right after the re-election of President George W. Bush. It arouses the expectation to let sleep for a while, at least, the worry that the second Bush administration will flow into adamant unilateralism. The evaluation of the talks should stay there.

The leaders of Korea and the U.S. confirmed the “principles of non-toleration of North Korea to possess nuclear weapons and of peaceful resolution” also at the APEC summit of October 2003. Strictly speaking, it is excessive self-praise to speak of the retroactive agreement of the two countries as “the most outstanding outcome of all historic Korea-U.S. summits” or “new milestone in the Korea-U.S. relations.” The heads of the two countries only pledged once again to solve the nuclear issue peacefully, and no breakthrough was made in the issue.

It won’t be late for the government to celebrate after it pulled Pyongyang back to the six-party talks table. The government should maintain the cooperation between Korea and the U.S. within the framework of the six-party talks and work hard to come up with measures to achieve the objective of the dismantlement of North Korea’s nuclear programs with the modest attitude that it is back on the starting line. The most urgent task will be to make a “harmonized single plan” by compromising on the plans that Korea and the U.S. suggested in the third six-party talks. If North Korea’s dismantlement is set as the objective, the preparation period of nuclear dismantlement and the subjects of heavy oil supply will not be insurmountable hindrances.

There will be a responsibility to follow for the active role that the government suggested. The Korean government should prepare itself to not only extract the U.S. cooperation but also Pyongyang’s change. Letting the North know the views of the other five parties tapped by the government, and thereby encouraging it to participate in the six-party talks, is the very meaning of taking an active role.

The government should also take President Bush’s remark cautioning against a “dichotomy approach” of peace or war importantly. Displaying an attitude of appeasement and yielding as much as possible to North Korea is not the only way to a peaceful solution. It is time to act more prudently in terms of not only the content of the resolution for North Korea’s nuclear issue but also strategy.