[EDITORIALS]Persisting in follyAt the recent Trilateral Cooperation and Oversight Group meeting, South Korea, the United States and Japan agreed to counter the North’s illegal activities, establishing a de facto basis for sanctions against the North. The agreement was targeted at Pyeongyang’s drug running and counterfeiting, but it is a warning that the international community will reinforce the monitoring and containment of North Korea in general. It indicates that pressures on the North will grow.
Washington also reportedly mentioned referring the nuclear matter to the UN Security Council if the North fails to reply to proposed five-way talks including Seoul and Tokyo or makes the situation worse by nuclear reprocessing. The United States also said the light-water reactor project would be stopped unless the North responded to the proposal to end the nuclear row. It seems that the three countries generally agreed that it is inevitable to pressure the North.
That strong stance came because the North has shown no change in its attitude. It persists in demanding bilateral talks with the United States. Furthermore, South Korea-U.S. intelligence has discovered that the North has exported missiles to Iran using Iranian cargo planes for the past two months. That report seems to have a connection with the recent U.S. attempts to stop proliferation of weapons of mass destruction; Washington called a proliferation security initiative meeting last week in Spain, asking the international community to join the move. The recent trilateral meeting in Honolulu also suggested the inevitability of sanctions against the North.
Meanwhile, the two Koreas held ceremonies to relink two cross-border railroads. At the end of this month, the 7th separated family reunion is scheduled at Mount Geumgang. Unless the North gives up its nuclear program, such inter-Korean exchanges will face problems. North Korea must not make light of the international atmosphere. To have meaningful inter-Korean events, the North Korea’s nuclear issue must be resolved. If the North continues to ignore the international demands, it will be isolated even further.