[EDITORIALS]Creativity to avoid warYoon Young-kwan, minister of foreign affairs and trade, is scheduled to visit Washington tomorrow, for the first time as a member of the Roh Moo-hyun administration. Resolving North Korea’s nuclear issues and coordinating Seoul’s and Washington’s stances on realignment of U.S. forces in the peninsula are Mr. Yoon’s core missions. He will also prepare for Mr. Roh’s visit to the United States.
The United States froze its working-level contacts with the North to concentrate on the war against Iraq. Under international law, the North’s earlier declaration to walk away from the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty will take effect April 10. Seoul and Washington believe that date will be the turning point of the North Korea nuclear issue. The United States and South Korea must find common ground to resolve the standoff during Mr. Yoon’s visit. That will allow us to present the North with a plan to resolve the issue peacefully and to prevent Pyeonyang from staging reckless provocations during the Iraq war.
There are expressed worries about U.S. military action to stop the North from going nuclear after the war against Iraq is over. Mr. Roh warned against such irresponsible remarks. Seoul should confirm the principle of resolving the North Korean nuclear issue peacefully; Seoul should agree to feasible plans of multilateral resolution to ease South Koreans’ anxieties.
The United States failed to gain support from some permanent members of the UN Security Council for the war against Iraq. How intent Washington will be on engaging the council to draft a multilateral resolution on North Korea issues is unknown. Washington said any multilateral resolution would be to enhance the impact of sanctions on North Korea. We believe a resolution should address more than just sanctions. We believe that a resolution should deal with the North’s demands. The international community, including the United States, is preoccupied with the Iraq war. We propose a creative resolution to the North’s nuclear aspirations.