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[Editorial] N. Korea Pursuing Its Own Destruction

Posted April. 15, 2009 03:02,   


The U.N. Security Council has unanimously adopted a president’s statement condemning North Korea’s rocket launch that came April 5. Pyongyang in response says it will boycott the six-party denuclearization talks and resume its nuclear activity. The communist country is using a tit-for-tat strategy to defy the international community, while threatening world peace by developing nuclear weapons and long-range ballistic missiles.

The North, however, has asked for the president’s statement. Despite global warnings not to, it launched a long-range missile and conducted a nuclear test in 2006. This has prompted the council to adopt Resolution 1718 prohibiting the North from engaging in missile activity. When Pyongyang returned to the six-party talks thereafter, the council withheld the implementation of sanctions on the North. The communist country, however, has launched another missile under the guise of a satellite. Given the North’s betrayal, the council`s statement seems like a mere slap on the wrist. Nevertheless, Pyongyang has reacted with the most drastic measures.

The North Korean Foreign Ministry said in a statement yesterday, “We will never participate in six-party talks or be bound any longer to any agreement of the talks.” It also threatened to strengthen its nuclear deterrence by reprocessing spent fuel rods in its main reactor at Yongbyon, review the construction of light-water reactors, and pursue its right to the peaceful use of space. The North is set to undermine 14 years of denuclearization efforts by the world’s leading countries. This is no surprise, however, given the North’s previous attempts to sabotage the six-party talks by mobilizing false accusations. By blasting the council’s statement, the North has clearly showed its intent not to abandon its nuclear ambition.

The reclusive country is gravely mistaken, however. The president’s statement contains not only the council’s determination not to condone the North’s provocation but also concrete measures to implement sanctions on the North. Exports of items for weapons of mass destruction, certain conventional arms and luxury goods to the North are likely to be banned and the North’s WMD-related assets will be frozen. Let alone suffering isolation from the international community, the North is also being hit by severe economic difficulty and food shortages. Now that China and Russia have endorsed the statement, the North has nobody to turn to. The communist country is now making frantic efforts to defy the condemnation, but this will only invite its self-destruction.

The world must show this time to the North that brinksmanship, a tactic Pyongyang employs whenever driven into a corner, is no longer effective. South Korea, the United States and Japan must react in unison. For their part, China and Russia should actively join in punishing the North. No less important is Seoul’s determination. South Korea should declare its full-fledged participation in the U.S.-led Proliferation Security Initiative and thoroughly be prepared for provocations by the North.