South Korea will pay 47.92 million U.S. dollars in contributions to the United Nations, the 11th-highest amount among 192 member nations. Seoul also provided 2.26 percent of the U.N. peacekeeping operations budget, or 10th highest. As a country that defeated North Korea with the help of the U.N. and 16 member nations in the Korean War 60 years ago, South Korea has made a perfect transformation from aid recipient to donor.
In addition to its financial contribution, South Korea is also active in PKO activities. For example, the Army is participating in PKO activities in Lebanon, Somalia and Haiti. It will also dispatch the Asena unit to Afghanistan to protect the reconstruction support team next month. Though the dispatch is not without fears since two South Koreans were killed in 2007 when the Taliban took 23 hostage, Seoul will find it difficult not to help global efforts for peace.
If South Korea does not step up to help a troubled member nation, no one will return the favor when it needs help. According to Article 1 of Chapter I of the U.N. Charter, the purpose of the U.N. is to maintain international peace and security, take effective collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to the peace, the suppression of acts of aggression or other breaches of the peace, to bring about by peaceful means, and in conformity with the principles of justice and international law, adjustment or settlement of international disputes or situations that might lead to a breach of the peace. It is a member nations utmost duty to do its best to help the U.N. live up to its purpose.
South Korea referred the Cheonan sinking to the U.N Security Council. North Koreas provocation undoubtedly requires U.N. intervention. Chapters 34 and 35 of the U.N. Charter say the Security Council may investigate a dispute or case that could flame conflict or dispute and member nations can call for the councils attention. If the U.N. neglects any attempt at disrupting peace, it will be reduced to a paper tiger. The permanent members of the Security Council will betray the spirit of the charter through the abuse of power to veto only out of its own interests. Pyongyang has threatened hard-line measures if the Security Council intervenes. The U.N. Security Council should take the Cheonan incident seriously for the future of the world body.
Editorial Writer Bhang Hyeong-nam (email@example.com)