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[Editorial] ICBM Test: Last Straw?

Posted June. 19, 2006 03:02,   


It is being said that North Korea’s test-firing an intercontinental ballistic missile is imminent. The launch of the missile that ranges from the North to the U.S.A could produce shocking repercussions on security of the Korean peninsula and northeast Asia.

The Kim Jong Il leadership should stop their plan to launch the missile immediately. All responsibilities related to their provocation are solely on Kim’s shoulders.

Pyongyang’s threat is typical brinkmanship strategy to bring the U.S. to the bilateral table by creating a critical situation. They are trying to secure the safety of Kim’s political system through a direct talk with Washington. The U.S., which knows the North’s intentions, will not let them have their own way. What Pyongyang is trying to do will just worsen two countries’ relationship, which is already having troubles caused by forgeries and financial sanctions.

Washington has already warned that they will take proper actions if Pyongyang test-fires the missile. Tokyo has also announced that if the missile is dropped on Japan, they will consider it an attack. Washington and Tokyo are reviewing sanctions on the North through the UN Security Council. The North’s missile launch will thwart the six-party talks system, strengthen the Bush administration’s hardline policy and Japan’s military power, and weaken China’s role as a peacemaker. The consequences could lead to the change of power of which Kim Jong Il has been dreading the most.

The two Koreas’ relationship will be also tricky. The Roh Moo-hyun administration, which has been siding with the North, will be in a difficult situation receiving pressure from the international community. It could be forced to make a choice between the Korea-U.S. relationship and the South-North one. It will suffer from internal resistance right away. If the declaration of having nuclear weapons on February 2005 and the launch of a long-range missile laden with a nuclear warhead are the price we have to pay for having been protecting and supporting the North since the Roh administration took office, none of our people would support the aid to the North.

The government should take a clear stand. Despite the need of inter-Korea exchanges and cooperation, those will have no meaning and effect under the current situation. The government should restore the traditional cooperation with the U.S. and Japan and take strong measures against the North unless it intends to go with the North and confront the international community. Depending on the situation, it should be ready to stop its economic aid to the North first. It is not time to cry for a national sentiment. It should be aware that both the South and North could collapse together, if something goes wrong.