[EDITORIALS]Reality finally sank inWe were relieved to see some signs of improvement in U.S.-South Korea relations, which have been strained since last year’s presidential election. Differences between Seoul and Washington on resolving North Korea’s nuclear aspirations have stirred talk of a war on the peninsula. South Koreans were becoming increasingly uneasy.
The Roh government’s foreign affairs and national security team finally assumed its responsibilities, and its efforts to mend the rupture between Seoul and Washington slowly paid off. Prime Minister Goh Kun asked the United States not to trim or relocate U.S. forces here. South Korea’s ambassador to the United Nations, Sun Joun-yung, made clear that Korea is supporting the U.S. stance at the UN Security Counsel on the Iraq issue.
In their telephone conversation Thursday night, President Roh Moo-hyun and U.S. President George W. Bush coordinated their stances on Iraq and North Korea.
We have consistently stressed that harmony between the United States and South Korea is necessary to end Pyeongyang’s nuclear ambitions and to resolve related security concerns. The dialogue between the two leaders was inevitable and similar talks should take place frequently.
Seoul, indeed, must have found it difficult to support the U.S. campaign against Iraq. The international community is increasingly turning its back on the United States, and many Koreans wonder whether we must show our support so overtly. And yet, the new government has made public its support, citing the responsibility of an ally. Such an action was unavoidable for the sake of our national interest because we need to resolve the North Korean nuclear threat with U.S. help and understanding.
Ban Ki-moon, a Blue House foreign affairs aide, who recently returned from a visit to New York, said credit rating agencies and foreign investors were very concerned about the nuclear issue. His report clearly shows one of the main reasons behind the economic downturn. Seoul has finally realized the gravity of the situation and has shown its determination to solve the problems in alliance with Washington. The administration should keep this sense of reality.