[EDITORIALS]Nuclear crisis? What crisis?

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[EDITORIALS]Nuclear crisis? What crisis?

It is shocking to learn that North Korea possesses 30 kilograms of highly enriched uranium, enough to build two nuclear bombs. More surprisingly, Washington gave Seoul this information in August and September, but Seoul has responded naively. Senior Seoul officials are saying that the allegations of the North's secret nuclear program are exaggerated, repeating the North's arguments. We wonder if the government has some reasons to downplay the nuclear issue that it cannot tell.

Reportedly, Washington also told Seoul that Pyeongyang has enriched uranium using 1,000 centrifuge separators, and even where the enriched uranium is stored.

Such information should have been discussed at the National Security Council and a resolute measure to dismantle the North's nuclear program should have been provided. The intelligence shows that the North's program is certainly more serious than what Seoul has been describing as "not yet a threat." There is no hint that the government took this matter seriously and tried to draw up careful resolutions. The fact that just a day before the South Korean delegation's departure to Pyeongyang for ministerial talks, the government made a great fuss about changing its negotiation strategy to reflect such intelligence declares the truth.

Even more strange are the remarks of two senior Seoul officials. After returning from talks with the North, Unification Minister Jeong Se-hyun suggested that the allegations on the nuclear issue may be exaggerated. The presidential special adviser Lim Dong-won said that Washington, just before the meeting of North Korean and Japanese leaders, deliberately tipped Tokyo and Seoul about Pyeongyang's nuclear program. Such arguments show conspiratorial views toward U.S. motives in revealing the nuclear program and providing intelligence evidence.

Trying to downplay the crisis instead of to overcome it is extremely dangerous, foreshadowing possible diplomatic friction with Washington. The government's explanations are inconsistent day by day. It may be belated, but the government must realize the seriousness of this crisis and draw up a resolution that will ensure the national security.
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