[EDITORIALS]What Kim knew and when

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[EDITORIALS]What Kim knew and when

What should our reaction be to the news that the government has had intelligence and information about North Korea's nuclear development program and kept it all to itself for the past three years?

And what about the fact that the government has kept up assistance to the North even in the face of that nuclear program, a threat to our national security and survival? We have to question what the government was thinking when it took that action, although its responsibility, first and foremost, is to protect the lives and property of the people and work for the national interest.

The government said it did not make the information public because it remained "unconfirmed intelligence" and that it was only in August that it received "conclusive evidence" from the United States and realized the seriousness of the situation. Then what about President Kim Dae-jung's declaration on Sept. 25 that "Korea is at an important point on the road to peace and reconciliation between the two Koreas and even toward a single Korea on the peninsula?" That was more than a month after the alleged communication of critical information from the United States; did the president not realize the seriousness of the situation or did he know all along and was blatantly deceiving us?

We are learning that the government became aware of several movements of equipment needed to enrich uranium into North Korea since 1999 and that it was sharing such information with the United States. This is certainly more than "unconfirmed" intelligence, as the government has labeled it. It is the kind of information that would be put before the president. If it was not, the government's intelligence program is broken.

If the president was aware, then the matter should have been brought up as a violation of the 1992 joint declaration of the two Koreas on the denuclearization of the peninsula. And taking measures against the North would be a natural part of the president's job. President Kim must come forward and explain what the government's position was concerning this latest revelation. It is especially important if Mr. Kim believes that the "sunshine policy" is effective only when it is based on strong security preparedness.

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