[EDITORIALS]Come to your senses, North

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[EDITORIALS]Come to your senses, North

North Korea seems to have a poor understanding of the present situation. Listening to the North Korean foreign ministry spokesman Tuesday, we got the impression that Pyeongyang was employing a diplomatic tactic that only threatens international society. The spokesman warned that if the normalization negotiations between Japan and North Korea are postponed, Pyeongyang may reconsider its promise of a missile testing moratorium, made through the Sept. 17 Pyeongyang Declaration. The remark, however, is nothing more than a strategy to threaten Japan, which now plays the role of Washington's spokesman, and to induce Japan to break apart from an alliance consisting of Seoul, Tokyo and Washington.

For the past few weeks, international society has pressured the North to dismantle its uranium enrichment program. North Korea, in return, has demanded a nonaggression treaty with the United States, conveying its message through the UN mission and diplomats in China, Russia and Germany. The North persisted in its threat that it will reconsider many security issues, if its will of a nonaggression pact is not realized. Pyeongyang's remarks were indeed more than merely diplomatic rhetoric.

North Korea must understand that international society's pressure will grow and may be realized after this weekend's Trilateral Coordination and Oversight Group meeting. With elections over, the United States will place its full military and diplomatic powers into its war against Iraq. Even so, U.S. pressure on the North is expected to grow fiercer. An action, not a threat, is possible. In Japan, criticism toward Pyeongyang has become overwhelming ever since the revelation of kidnapped Japanese citizens.

If the North continues to use diplomatic threats, that will only delay the settlement of this nuclear crisis, eventually depriving North Korea of its chances of survival, economic recovery and independence. North Korea no longer has time to play strategic games by using intimidation and deception.
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