[NOTEBOOK]Waking up in a cold sweatThis is urgent, special news. United States President George W. Bush made an official announcement just now that the United States has bombed the North Korean nuclear facilities.
Let’s hear from Washington. Correspondent Shin Bo-soo has more.
“This is Washington. President Bush announced that the United States conducted a limited strike on the North Korean nuclear reprocessing facilities in Yeongbyeon at 2 p.m., about an hour ago.
“In his statement from the White House, President Bush said, ‘It was inevitable because the North Korean nuclear activities crossed the line that the United States and the international community can tolerate. The United States has already warned many times that it would not rule out any options if North Korea did not give up its nuclear programs.
“Mr. Bush emphasized, ‘This measure focused only on the elimination of North Korean nuclear capability, and does not mean a military attack against North Korea.’ But he warned that if North Korea takes any military action against the measure, he will mobilize any means available to foil the North’s action.”
The United States’ surprise attack against Yeongbyeon turned into fact “the rumor of a crisis on the Korean Peninsula in June.”
If North Korea reacts with military action, the situation will become so tense that “the second Korean war” will be unavoidable.
I wonder what the North Korean military is doing now. Reporter In Gye-cheol at the Ministry of National Defense has more.
“This is In Gye-cheol. The United States’ air attack was carried out at three o’clock local time this morning. Since then until now, there have been no moves by the North Korean military forces around the demarcation line, in the air or in the sea.
“But to prepare for a possible national emergency, the Korea-U.S. Combined Forces Command instituted ‘DEFCON 1,’ the maximum level of force readiness, and made war preparations.”
The United States Department of Defense said that for this attack it mobilized Tomahawk cruise missiles and the stealth fighter aircraft that had displayed their power in the war with Iraq. Correspondent Gang Gyeongpa is at the Pentagon and joins us now.
“This is the Pentagon. Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld said in the press conference that just ended, ‘The bombing this time was a surgical pinpoint strike that targeted 14 nuclear facilities in Yeongbyeon, including the radiochemical laboratory and experimental nuclear reactors. For the strike, we used about 40 Tomahawk missiles and 50 bombs with guidance control systems, including Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) and Guided Bomb Unit-28 (GBU-28) bunker-busters.’
“Tomahawk missiles were launched from destroyers and submarines under the control of the U.S. Seventh Fleet deployed in the sea area of the Korean Peninsula, and the guided bombs were released from F-117A stealth fighter aircraft that set out for the attack from their U.S. bases in Guam.
“Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld said that the bomb scene photographed from an artificial satellite showed that ‘the operation was successful.’”
It was President Roh Moohyun’s firm belief that a war on the Korean Peninsula should be prevented by any means.
At the South Korea-United States summit talks held last month, the two heads of states reconfirmed the principle of peaceful resolution of the North Korean nuclear problem.
After his return to Korea, President Roh emphasized this principle as the major diplomatic achievement flowing from his visit to the United States.
Let’s hear about the response to this American attack on North Korea from the Blue House. Reporter Ma Go-yo joins us now.
“This is Ma Go-yo. It has been said here that the United States informed South Korea, Japan, and China of the strike through diplomatic channels immediately after its bombing Youngbyeon.
“The Blue House is stunned. President Roh is scheduled to release a special statement soon, and we are still waiting for that statement.”
What will the content of the statement be?
“The president will earnestly request in the name of our nation that North Korea refrain from any military action.”
“President Roh said that if North Korea reacts with military force, South Korea will have no choice but to counterattack with the same deadly force. That, the president continued, would surely lead to the second tragic fratricidal war on the Korean Peninsula.”
As they say, dreams come true; is it possible that the nightmare of such a scenario could also come true?
* The writer is international news editor of the JoongAng Ilbo.
by Bae Myoung-bok