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[Editorial] Nuclear Reunification?

Posted October. 14, 2006 07:01,   


Former secretary to the President for National Defense Kim Hee-sang (retired from the Army, Lt-general), who supervised the national policy in the early Roh administration, said, “Nuclear weapons development in North Korea is to establish the driving force for reunification through communization of the South.” He argued in an interview with the JoongAng Ilbo on the North’s announcement of the nuclear experiment, “It is a declaration of war in the long term,” adding, “We need to show our commitment for military sanctions.”

Such an analysis shows how the diplomatic and humanitarian efforts of the government and the international community to resolve the North Korean nuclear issues were ineffective, allowing the North to have more time to develop nuclear weapons. North Korea’s possession of nuclear weapons implies the failure of the efforts, including the 1992 joint declaration of the De-nuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and the 1994 Agreed Framework between the North and the U.S., and the six-party talks. In this aspect, Mr. Kim believes in the need to show the will for “military sanctions,” directly threatening the throat of the North Korean leader Kim Jong Il.

North Korea’s nuclear development program seriously disrupted the military balance of South and North Korea. Experts analyze that the North’s military threats have taken a different form from conventional weapons, the concept of quantity and ground troops to bio-chemical weapons, Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD), long-range artillery systems and cyber war. It is safe to say that the South, which used to be inferior to the North even under the North’s conventional weaponry, all of a sudden lost its independent deterrence against the North.

Furthermore, the defense reform initiatives supposed to attract a total of 621 trillion won by 2020 must be re-examined because they contain nothing about measures against WMD. Even if the rogue regime possessing nuclear weapons makes a stupid mistake, it is extremely challenging to restrain it, so the fact that nuclear weapons could be a means to maintain the regime is a headache, experts say. Intensifying the ROK-U.S. alliance, including putting an end to the discussion on the operation control takeover, has become ever more important for the South’s survival. That is, securing the solid nuclear umbrella of the U.S. has become the only survival means.

Now it has become possible for the North to threaten the South with its nuclear weapons anytime. That is, this would increasingly give the North an upper hand, spreading the sense of defeatism throughout South Korean society, in turn spreading the pro-North forces ever more, and this would trigger indirect invasion tactics from the North to flourish, according to the former presidential secretary Kim. This remark should not be overlooked at all. North Korea’s efforts to achieve reunification through communization of the South (or its reunification strategy) can be divided into two steps. The first one is to encourage South Korean society to have its own mass uprising (or People’s Democracy Revolution) and the second one is to reunify by communizing the South (Liberation of South Chosŏn, or South Korea) via armed forces. Mr. Kim said nuclear weapons play a decisive role in both steps.

Unfortunately, it now feels that the ambience surrounding the first step is felt throughout the society. Even after the announcement on the nuclear experiment of the North, the government consistently maintains the engagement policy toward the North, some civic groups, the Korea Confederation of Trade Unions and the Korean Teachers and Education Workers` Union perform pro-North activities and advocating remarks for the North are made via broadcasting networks like KBS. Are we all living under the Kim Jong Il regime or what?

Director of the Center for Korean-American Peace, Kim Myong-chol, who is called as “unofficial spokesman” of Kim Jong Il was interviewed via phone by KBS and MBC, the national TV networks and his remarks representing the North were all aired. His blackmailing words were pouring in: “If we [North Korea] are treated with sanctions and blockades, we would regard it as a war”; “Tokyo and New York will be engulfed by a deluge of fire …… This is a true action to see if it was nonsense or not”; and “The destiny of the Korean peninsula would be determined in a week.” How could KBS and MBC, the national TV networks, air it? They are not even the North Korean Central Broadcasting Stations. Is this what they call “objective and fair reporting?” I cannot but suspect that this is “a propaganda succumbing to the North’s scheme for reunification via communization.”