[EDITORIALS]Global mistrust of the North

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[EDITORIALS]Global mistrust of the North

There is a sentence in yesterday's North Korean Foreign Ministry statement that says "What are we supposed to face if we stand naked?" That is perhaps the clearest reflection of the North's recognition of geopolitics. It contains the North's fear of the possibility that the United States might strike it. The point-by-point reference to the United States' alleged violation of the 1994 Agreed Framework in the statement is also an indication of the North's frustration with a determined United States.

But the North must first reflect on how it came to be so disliked by the United States and why there was less progress after the 1994 agreement than it had hoped. The North deeply mistrusted by the international community. Its admissions of having abducted Japanese or having maintained a nuclear program have drawn recent attention. But even those who might be willing to recognize Pyeongyang's legitimacy and to prepare normalization of relations with it come to have doubts about the North's trustworthiness.

If the economic reform measures taken in July had been a true attempt at change, then its efforts with respect to security issues should also be geared to winning the trust of the international community. It would be meaningless to try to improve the economy or to ensure its survival unless efforts are made to keep its word and win back the trust of the international community.

Building trust should begin with keeping its word with the South. It is unacceptable, for example, that the North tries to put the blame on the United States for the breakup of the joint denuclearization declaration made with the South. In the eight years between the Geneva agreement and the admission of nuclear development, the North has consistently ignored us. If the North continues to take hostage the security of the peninsula for the sake of its own "self-reliance," then there is no reason for us to support its position.

The North is rapidly losing the effectiveness of its "diplomacy of standing on the edge." Its insistence on self-reliance and survival will be effective only when it is accompanied by a strategic formulation that goes with the flow of the world's geopolitics and that recognizes the voice of South Korea.
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