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Korea and U.S. Deaf to Each Other on Resolution of North Korea Nuclear Crisis

Korea and U.S. Deaf to Each Other on Resolution of North Korea Nuclear Crisis

Posted April. 20, 2005 23:08,   


Regarding the solution to the North Korea nuclear issue, Korea and the U.S. are crisscrossing. While the U.S. has implied submitting the problem to the U.N. Security Council in case the six-party talks fail, Korea has expressed the opposite opinion.

At the party-government consultative conference yesterday, the Korean government and the Uri Party voiced clear opposition to the view of some in the U.S. administration that the North Korea nuclear issue could be submitted to the U.N. Security Council. They judged that applying a hard-line North Korea policy to pressure Pyongyang could instead bring about adverse effects.

Some opinions in the conference were: “Isn’t the patience of the U.S. and other friendly nations concerning the six-party talks hitting the limit?” and “Aggravation of the situation may cast mishap to all Koreans. We must display patience and stop the situation from rolling downhill to its worst shape.” Although the attendees generally agreed with the U.S. that the North Korea nuclear crisis is entering a grave stage, their logic was that peace should be sought all the more through communication.

When he was questioned whether the party and the government made clear that they are opposed to submitting the problem to the U.N. Security Council at yesterday’s regular press briefing, however, Foreign Minister Ban Ki-moon replied, looking surprised, “Who asserted such a position?” Minister Ban stated, “Concerning strategic issues including the submission of the problem to the U.N. Security Council, Korea and the U.S. should observe the development of the situation and consult with each other.”

Before the event, White House spokesman Scott McClellan stated on April 18 that if Pyongyang refuses to return to the six-party talks, the U.S. could review submitting the issue to the U.N. Security Council. It means that the U.S. can abandon the framework of the six-party talks, which has been maintained for two years since 2003, and discuss applying sanctions to North Korea through a U.N. resolution. It is interpreted as having expressed the Bush administration’s mood, which is becoming more and more aggressive in connection to the recent stoppage of operation of the 5MW nuclear reactor in Youngbyun.

When some observed whether the perception between Korea and the U.S. and among the Korean ministries differ, the Unification Ministry’s policy promotion officer Kim Hong-jae explained yesterday, “It is not desirable to discuss submitting the nuclear issue to the U.N. Security Council or applying economic sanctions,” and asked the people to pay attention to the “current” situation. Meanwhile, the Korean Council for Reconciliation and Cooperation Standing Committee chairman Jeong Se-hyun (former unification minister) asserted yesterday, “As long as China and Russia have to agree to the submission of the North Korea nuclear issue to the Security Council, the U.S.’ warning won’t be a big threat to Pyongyang.” In the interview with the CBS radio, he stated, “Unlike in the cases of Iraq and Afghanistan, sanctions on North Korea is a wrong idea as China and Korea do not agree with the geopolitical situation of the Korean Peninsula.”

Jong-Koo Yoon jkmas@donga.com taewon_ha@donga.com