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[Op-Ed] Gadhafi and Kim Jong Il

Posted October. 01, 2009 07:33,   


Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi told CNN’s “Larry King Live” Monday that his country opposes North Korea and Iran pursuing nuclear development if their purpose is to manufacture bombs and weapons. Considering that Pyongyang has acted as a nuclear power since its second nuclear test in May, Gadhafi’s comment is considered a call for North Korea’s denuclearization. Libya gave up its nuclear weapons in 2003, and perhaps Gadhafi was advising North Korean leader Kim Jong Il to learn from his experience.

Gadhafi’s CNN appearance was sparked by his speech to the U.N. General Assembly last week. He attacked the U.N. Security Council by tearing a copy of the U.N. Charter. Despite criticism of performing a “one-man show” for 100 minutes, he took full advantage of his speech to discuss his philosophy and policy. CNN probably invited him to the one-hour talk show because of his news value.

Each U.N. member country has the right to have its leader attend the General Assembly, and leaders from 120 countries attended this year’s gathering. Those from rouge states that create conflict with the international community are taking advantage of the U.N., like Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez also attended the event to pursue his country’s interests.

This year, a U.N. summit on climate change was also held on the sidelines of the General Assembly. North Korea, however, merely sent Vice Foreign Minister Pak Gil Yon to the U.N. It is regrettable that Pyongyang failed to take advantage of the world’s greatest diplomatic arena and seems indifferent to global warming.

North Korea`s constitutional amendment in April made its leader Kim even more powerful. Though the North Korean Constitution is nothing but an ornament, Kim took the official title of “supreme leader.” He will probably take on more responsibility with his new title. Yet this leader who holds absolute power over his country has never attended the U.N. General Assembly. Does he lack the guts to go to New York and wage a diplomatic war? Only the brave can change. What Gadhafi did at the U.N. is in stark contrast to Kim’s continued seclusion from diplomacy.

Editorial Writer Bhang Hyeong-nam (hnbhang@donga.com)