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[Editorial] Violating NK`s Own Interests

Posted April. 06, 2009 08:02,   


North Korea went ahead yesterday with its provocative rocket launch, which poses a grave threat to world peace and stability. If the long-range rocket that flew over Japan and landed in the Pacific Ocean carried nuclear weapons, it could attack not only South Korea and Japan but also the United States. A North Korean attack using weapons of mass destruction and such weapons’ proliferation have become a real threat to world peace. It is like living with a ticking time bomb planted by the North.

All discussion on the launch should begin with the act being a violation of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1718. Given the North’s past behavior as a rogue country and the explosiveness the rocket launch, the international community must respond wisely to this provocation even if the projectile turns out to be a satellite as the North claims. Otherwise, the world will bring misfortune on itself. The U.N. Security Council slapped Pyongyang with U.N. Resolution 1695 for launching its Taepodong-1 missile in July 2006. U.N. Resolution 1718 was passed after the North conducted its nuclear test in October the same year, and taken under Chapter 7 of the U.N. Charter, which defines action against breach of peace or an act of aggression. The world body will defy its raison d`être if the North’s worsening provocations are left unsanctioned.

North Korea will not stop here. Now that it has a nuclear test and rocket launch under its belt, it is likely to move on to developing a nuclear warhead small enough to be carried by a missile. A second nuclear test is also probable. These scenarios have been put forward by the daily Chosun Sinbo, the communist regime’s de facto mouthpiece. The paper also mentioned that Pyongyang could sell its long-range missile technology overseas. The North Korean Foreign Ministry warned that putting the launch up for discussion at the U.N. Security Council could end the six-party talks and reverse denuclearization efforts. Against this backdrop, the world must no longer tolerate such brazen acts by the peace-threatening regime.

The first step in resolving the security threat triggered by Pyongyang’s provocation is for the international community to reinforce the principle of “no reward for bad behavior.” U.S. President Barack Obama denounced the launch as a “provocative act” that poses a threat to all countries. Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso also said the launch cannot be “disregarded.” The European Union urged the North to end its ballistic missile and nuclear programs while condemning the launch. The U.N. Security Council, which will hold a meeting today, must draft specific measures to make it clear to the North that its provocations will run counter to its interests.

It is regrettable that China and Russia simply urged calm and controlled responses immediately after yesterday’s launch without citing the provocation’s violation of Resolution 1718. The irresponsible initial response by Beijing and Moscow reflects the divide within the Security Council. Their inept action could even invite further provocations by Pyongyang. As permanent members of the council, they should place world peace before their relations with the North.