[EDITORIALS]UN must do something

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[EDITORIALS]UN must do something

The Iraq war crisis is taking a new twist. The United States, which seemed to intend to go it alone in attacking the Middle Eastern country because of its suspected development of weapons of mass destruction, has asked for a United Nations resolution giving Iraq a firm deadline to disarm. This was a bow to the international community's opposition to a war; most countries have been reluctant to support Washington's unilateral action, citing the lack of clear evidence to prove that Iraq is developing such weapons.

South Korea, which once saw the United States and North Korea on the brink of a war over Pyeongyang's suspected development of those mass weapons, has been particularly concerned about the volatile situation surrounding Iraq. We sincerely hope that war can be avoided. Therefore, we welcome Washington's request for a United Nations resolution to solve the Iraqi problem, reflecting the voice of the international community. Also encouraging is that the world body, which had seemed to be bobbing in the wake of American unilateralism since the end of the Cold War, has found a new opportunity to play a role as a mediator of international conflict.

But the United Nations and the international community now face a serious challenge. The address delivered Thursday by U.S. President George W. Bush at the UN headquarters was a demand for the United Nations to act, rather than a declaration that he would give up or avoid a war on Iraq.

Therefore, the international body should do its best to hammer out immediate and workable measures to prevent a war in the Middle East that would cost a great number of human lives and have serious effects on the global economy and politics. The organization and the international community should be aware that if the United Nations fails to do so, it would lose a rare opportunity to recover its authority.

The United Nations, as a mediator, should first form a team of independent and neutral weapons inspectors so that Iraq can admit them to scrutinize its military facilities. It should also come up with a solution that both Washington and Baghdad can agree to and use all its diplomatic resources to prevent a war.
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