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[Editorial] Government’s Policy on North Korea in Accordance with “Disapproval of NK Nuke Program”

[Editorial] Government’s Policy on North Korea in Accordance with “Disapproval of NK Nuke Program”

Posted February. 11, 2005 22:59,   


The Korean government’s official countermeasure to North Korea’s declaration on the “possession of nuclear weapons and the rejection of the six-party talks” can be summed up by “deep concern” and “disapproval of North Korea’s nuclear possession.” The government could not make any particular demands against North Korea, who made ultra-adamant move and stopped just to reconfirm its existing policies. Foreign Minister Ban Ki-moon, who visited the U.S. to discuss resuming the six-party talks, now has to worry about how to cope with Pyongyang’s abrupt statement. These show that the government is not doing a good job of managing the greatest issue on the Korean Peninsula – the North Korean nuclear issue.

The government’s challenges in resolving the North Korea issue peacefully can be understood. Yet, it will be hard to prevent the aggravation of, much less resolving the crisis, with an aloof attitude facing Pyongyang, who is exacerbating the situation every minute.

It is time to reconsider the main direction of the country’s North Korea policy. The government should first reflect that the North struck the back of its head because it coped with the situation with premature optimism. Unification Minister Chung Dong-young’s recent remark is an example. “After February is over, North Korea’s position on the inter-Korea talks and six-party talks will be decided,” he said. It is evidence that the very minister in charge of North Korea policy was wedded to the dim expectation that Pyongyang would return to the talks. It is also an example which revealed the government’s frail information power regarding North Korea.

The government should also reflect whether its appeasing, low posture against the North delayed the resolution of the nuclear issue. The government has been consistently pursuing a policy to extract North Korea’s favorable conversion, but the result turned out to be just the opposite. It is now evident that talk-only-about “disapproval of North Korea’s nuclear possession” principle cannot bring about Pyongyang’s change.

It is now time to show the “disapproval of North Korea’s nuclear possession” principle in action. The time has come for the government to mobilize leverage, which will serve as substantial pressure on Pyongyang. To illustrate, the government can send a firm message to the North through controlling the speed of inter-Korea economic cooperation. The government should firmly enroot in the North’s psychology that the nuclear threat is disadvantageous to itself.

It is also important to gather up the voices of the international community and thereby pressure the North. In particular, Minister Ban should do his best so that Korea-U.S. cooperation remains firm.