[EDITORIALS]Restore trust in the allianceJames Kelly, U.S. presidential envoy, arrives in Seoul on Saturday to discuss measures to handle North Korea's nuclear program. After the North admitted that its program was still alive, Seoul held several interministerial meetings; a huge debate is also going on at the National Assembly.
Seoul was notified of the North's admission immediately after Mr. Kelly returned from the North. It also seems clear that Seoul had detected some indications of the North's nuclear program. But Seoul's response seems lukewarm and unenthusiastic.
The priority for Seoul should be to coordinate its policies with Washington. To this end, ministries must share information. Because the government was too afraid of the aftermath, intelligence about the North's secret nuclear project has not been shared between ministries for a significant period. Seoul should also demand additional information from Washington.
We do not believe that the government's coordination of its North Korea policy with Washington has been satisfactory. The U.S. government was, in fact, tightfisted in sharing its intelligence. A new threat to the peninsula's security and that of Northeast Asia has broken out, so Washington must share its intelligence.
Seoul should sit down with Washington to lay out a new policy on relations with the North that reflects current reality. Seoul may be able to argue that the new nuclear crisis must not be linked with inter-Korean economic cooperation. But the government should not stress dialogue and negotiation only to salvage its sunshine policy. Seoul must remember the international consensus that the North must come clean about its secret nuclear program before any talks can take place.
Our government should also do its best to mend the rupture in its alliance with the United States over North Korea policy. That is vital for solving a problem that will probably require a very long time to resolve. The nuclear matter will have to be handled by the next administration. Thus, the government must continue its talks with allies and deal with the nuclear crisis with a consistent attitude instead of a frivolous one.