[EDITORIALS]Our cash built their bombsNorth Korea conducted about 70 test explosions between 1997 and last year, and is believed to have reprocessed a small number of used fuel rods in the spring, the head of the National Intelligence Service, Ko Young-koo, told the National Assembly Wednesday. It is extremely shocking to learn that the Kim Dae-jung administration knew of this from its earliest days, yet pursued an appeasement policy toward the North. The thought of Pyeong-yang using money from the Kim administration to develop nuclear weapons to threaten us will really makes us sweat with fear.
It is refreshingly shocking that the Roh administration reported the North’s nuclear development to the National Assembly. That was a proper act for a government, and it was refreshing because the Kim administration covered up such important information while claiming to have eased tensions between the two Koreas through its engagement policy. While the Kim administration was paying cash to the North, hailing cooperation and proclaiming that blood is thicker than water, the North developed nuclear weapons and raised tensions to new heights. Mr. Ko’s report showed that clearly. Now we understand why the North obstinately demanded cash in return for the summit.
In making public the nuclear situation, the Roh administration makes revision of North Korea policy inevitable. It must not repeat the Kim administration’s mistake; it made political considerations that were absolutely inappropriate for the national security. Mr. Roh must employ all measures, based on all intelligence available, to pressure the North to end its nuclear programs. It is time for ruling-party lawmakers to stop repeating the mantra that “nuclear development is intolerable.” They must urge the government to act realistically. Cutting off the cash aid to the North immediately is the first step.
The Roh administration must have a firm will to resolve the nuclear situation above all else. That is the only way to regain the trust of our allies and reinforce our security. The Roh administration must send a clear warning to the North. The president’s most important duty is defending our nation.