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Who is South Korea’s Enemy?

Posted March. 29, 2005 09:24,   


On March 10, House Committee on International Relations Chairman Henry J. Hyde urged, “South Korea must say who its enemy is and reconsider its economic aid to North Korea.”

The remarks came at the committee’s hearing on the six-party talks and nuclear issues. He also said, “Concerning the security issue, it is a confusing signal that they (South Korea) have crossed out the description of North Korea as their main enemy in their defense white paper.”

According to analyses, his remarks have something to do with the hawkish atmosphere emerging in the U.S. Congress after North Korea declared its nuclear possession on February 10. The key remarks are as following:

Chairman Henry Hyde -

To settle the nuclear issue, the U.S. and South Korea should join hands. Any misunderstanding between the two countries will only help North Korea. There’s no alternative except North Korea’s complete, verifiable and irreversible dismantlement of weapons of mass destruction.

South Korea and China need to reconsider the extent to which they give assistance to the North Korea regime. If we fail to rein in North Korea’s nuclear adventure, the existing security balance in Asia will be greatly undermined.

South Korea’s 2004 defense white paper contains evident points of contradiction that cause confusion. The part that states North Korea as its main enemy has been wiped out, but North Korea’s hostility is the foundation of the U.S.-Korean alliance. The defense paper says that in the case of a military conflict in the Korean Peninsula, the U.S. will dispatch a total of 690,000 American troops. If South Korea needs help from the U.S., it must clarify who its enemy is.

Former Secretary of Defense William Perry (North Korea Policy Coordinator during the Clinton administration and current Stanford University professor) –

North Korea’s nuclear possession is such a serious issue that we should be willing to risk even military conflict.

However, waging war in the Korean peninsula could lead to countless numbers of lives lost. Therefore, the option is a last resort after all diplomatic efforts are made. Still, any diplomatic alternative has greater chances of success with an accompanying threat of military action.

Time is not on our side. While we have talks with North Korea, it is increasing its nuclear arsenal. It appears that South Korea, China and Japan are not as much concerned about North Korea’s nukes as the U.S.

James Lilley, Former U.S. Ambassador to Korea–

A Chinese official commented, “The attention the U.S. and Japan are paying to Taiwan’s security is making harder Sino-U.S. cooperation to solve the North Korean nuclear problem.”

North Korea is convinced that South Korea and China are opposed to any American military intervention. North Korea wants to keep the aid from the international community and still wants to continue its nuclear programs. The country is taking advantage of the uncertainty about its nuclear capability to confuse us. North Korea’s weak point is its economy and the U.S. has to obtain cooperation from South Korea and China.

Soon-Taek Kwon maypole@donga.com