[EDITORIALS]Solidifying the peaceTomorrow marks the 50th anniversary of the Korean War armistice. The war between the two Koreas began with the North’s invasion of the South, and the war has not yet ended, even after half a century. The Korean armistice symbolizes the fact that the peninsula was the last battle ground between the East and the West during the Cold War era ― that is our devastating reality. The hard reality under which Koreans suffered is about to repeat itself as North Korea’s nuclear ambitions raise the possibility of another war. Ending the unstable truce is Koreas’ most urgent priority.
North Korea has violated the armistice many times; we are sitting on top of a dormant volcano that could erupt again. The nuclear crisis is fueling the problem. That is why the current armistice agreement must be replaced with a peace treaty as soon as possible. That is the only way to secure the minimum safeguards for Koreans’ survival, prosperity and the foundation of peaceful unification. That will pave the way for our active participation in work being done for the peace and stability of Northeast Asia and regional prosperity in the post-Cold War epoch.
The issue is how to make a breakthrough. The two Koreas and other countries concerned must find a creative and practical way to end the unstable armistice on the peninsula. The nuclear crisis, thus, can be an opportunity, not a risk. The two Koreas, the United States and China must study how to end Pyeongyang’s nuclear programs and the armistice at the same time. Seoul must consult closely with Washington to draft a policy for such a grand proposal and try to persuade Pyeongyang and Beijing to agree. All measures must be tried to move Pyeongyang away from its insistence on talking only with the United States to replace the armistice.
North Korea must face the reality that triggering another, enlarged crisis will not work. Pyeongyang’s obsession to go nuclear must be dropped. General Richard Myers, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, has warned that North Korea will no longer exist if there is another Korean War. Koreans can survive if peace is settled on the peninsula.