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[Editorial] President’s “Absence” at Critical Juncture

[Editorial] President’s “Absence” at Critical Juncture

Posted May. 06, 2005 23:24,   


In order to restore the stalled six-way talks, relevant countries are gearing up their efforts. The fact that U.S. President George Bush called Chinese President Hu Jintao to talk about the nuclear issue cannot be overlooked. The two leaders expressed their concerns and called for North Korea’s determination to come back to the negotiation table. The notion that the two leaders came forward to resolve the nuclear crisis is a clear sign of the urgency of the matter. In Korea-China and Korea-Japan foreign ministers’ meetings held in Tokyo, the ministers maintained that North Korea would find itself in further isolation when things worsen.

It seems that the North has no option. Related countries want the communist country to come back to six-way talks, but if it refuses to do so, it will not be able to avoid sanctions. The relevant countries have come to agree on this. President Bush is expected to discuss the referral of the issue to the U.N. Security Council with Russian President Vladimir Putin to obtain its assent in a scheduled summit in Moscow on May 8.

Nonetheless, in terms of North Korea’s nuclear issue, President Roh Moo-hyun does not come to the fore. In that Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Ban Ki-moon said this is a “critical juncture” and that U.S. government leaders are initiating international efforts, the Korean president’s quietness might leave the impression that he has a different view on the issue.

Under the circumstances, Korea should rightly send a strong message to the North that if it continues to boycott the talks, it might face sanctions. Such a strong remark could lead to successful summits between Korea and China, Korea and Russia, which are scheduled next week, and summit between Korea and the U.S. which is to be held in June. It is not right time for Korea to make equivocal remarks that “condemnation between the North and the U.S. will only aggravate tensions.”

At this “critical juncture,” the government should show commensurate commitment to the issue. At a time when the parties discuss the referral of the issue to the U.N. Security Council, the passive attitude of expecting the North to change its stance will only isolate Korea from the whole issue. Furthermore, the confidence in Korea that relevant countries have will drop. Koreans expect President Roh to play an active role in order to help resolve the North Korean nuclear issue.