[EDITORIALS]No aid under nuclear threat

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[EDITORIALS]No aid under nuclear threat

After the revelation that North Korea was secretly developing a uranium-enrichment program, we are unable to repress our indignation at the North's duplicity. Pyeongyang has been stressing that the two Koreas are one and the June 15 Joint Declaration must be implemented at the same time it was secretly developing new methods to build nuclear weapons. Such actions cannot be justified under any circumstances.

North Korea argued that its nuclear program is for its own survival and is intended to be used as a bargaining tool in negotiations with the United States. This excuse makes sense only if the South is regarded as a target of nuclear threat. The mere thought of it makes us shudder.

Unless the North apologizes and gives up the nuclear program, we cannot continue giving assistance to the North. Until the issue of the nuclear threat to the South is resolved, economic cooperation can never be justified.

The South Korean unification minister, Jeong Se-hyun, upon his departure for Pyeongyang to attend talks there, said Seoul will resolve the nuclear issue and at the same time proceed with reconciliatory and cooperative projects as planned. That is certainly absurd. The nuclear issue and economic cooperation cannot coexist. The minister is responsible for demanding an apology and clarification. Yet he made clear before his trip that he makes a principle of separating the nuclear issue from the economic cooperation. He evidently has no plan to demand an apology. National security and the engagement policy are separate matters; the nuclear issue and economic cooperation, however, can never be dealt with separately. Negotiating the two subjects side by side, as if unrelated, shows this government's poor understanding of the current situation.

Economic support to the North is our only negotiating tool on the nuclear issue, but the government has given up that tool even before sitting down at the negotiation table. With such an attitude, how can we expect the government to resolve the nuclear issue? We urge President Kim to make clear that channels of dialogues are open, but economic cooperation is not possible without Pyeong-yang's pledge to give up its nuclear program.
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