[EDITORIALS]This tactic will not workShould the Korean Peninsula be under North Korea's nuclear threat for the second time? Does the North intend to induce George W. Bush to consider promoting a "precision bombing" against targets in North Korea, which the Clinton administration once promoted to eradicate nuclear facilities in the North, but decided against at the threshold. If such a crisis situation is created in the peninsula again, not only the North but also the South will be endangered. We believe South Korea should not be forced into a life or death situation as a result of North Korea's ruthless gambling.
Unfortunately, however, recent North Korean actions cause us to worry over the possibility of a crisis in the peninsula. North Korea, following its announcement on Thursday of lifting the freeze on its nuclear reactors, demanded that the International Atomic Energy Agency remove the monitoring cameras from all its nuclear facilities yesterday. This can be interpreted as the North having expressed its will to resist till the end a fight it has started. The North is known for its brinkmanship tactics. Its ploy is to threaten the United States by taking 50 million compatriots in the South as its hostages.
In 1994, North Korea, following its decision to withdraw from the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty in 1993, intensified pressure on Washington by announcing that it would replace used nuclear fuel rods of a nuclear reactor in violation of the International Atomic Energy Agency's regulations. At that time, the Clinton administration, which used more carrot than stick, promoted military contingency plans, which were stopped short of implementation but could have removed the North Korean nuclear facilities clear from the earth like medical surgeons remove a tumor. As was proved in the U.S. attack on Afghanistan, the United States has the capability and the will to do so. North Korea should keep this in mind.
North Korea should understand the United States correctly. The North should never think of playing brinkmanship against the United States by taking 50 million South Koreans hostage. The strategy that worked against the Clinton administration will never work against the government under George W. Bush. And the United States is under a different situation from that of President Clinton in 1994.
After sufferings and miserable damages from international terrorism, the U.S. government's first priority is the eradication of international terrorism and preventing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. The Bush administration has already proclaimed that it will not use any inducements toward North Korea and there will be no negotiations unless the North ends its nuclear development program. Moreover, Russia and China, the North's traditional allies, are also against North's nuclear development program. If the North reopens its nuclear reactors, the shadow of nuclear war will be drawn on the peninsula.
If the Korean Peninsula is taken to the brink of a war, foreign companies and investment in South Korea will be withdrawn from Seoul. The North has long claimed that it gives first priority to the Korean nation. Instead, is it now aiming at put the South, which can help the North, in the panic of war? The North's gambit cannot succeed. It should be prepared with the minimum condition the United States will accept as a precondition for negotiations. Then the South can ask Washington to accept peaceful solution.