[EDITORIALS]Libya, then the North?The Libyan leader, Colonel Muammar el-Qaddafi, announced Friday that his country would give up its development programs for weapons of mass destruction and allow international inspectors to check the country’s facilities. The news came six days after the capture of Saddam Hussein and two months after Iran declared it would give up its nuclear aspirations and allow inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency. The two countries’ decisions were the product of the international community’s efforts toward nonproliferation. The world will become a more peaceful place.
The decision by Mr. Qaddafi was made to avoid U.S. threats and economic sanctions, policies Washington adopted after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks to defend its security and stop the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. The decision was made through peaceful diplomatic exchanges between the United States and Libya, a marked contrast with Iraq.
Now North Korea is the last country labeled by Washington as a rogue state and proliferator of weapons of mass destruction. The United States also made clear that North Korea was the next target. Pyeongyang, therefore, must get a grip on international affairs and make an accurate judgement. It is time for Pyeongyang to make a wise and courageous decision. It is time for National Defense Committee Chairman Kim Jong-il to make that decision.
Mr. Kim must understand that Saddam’s bluff brought him the collapse of his regime. North Korea should also understand that Mr. Qaddafi, a proud man who conducted a green revolution in his country’s agriculture, accepted all the demands of the United States, a hostile enemy that once planned to assassinate him. The Libyan leader courageously took the path of a peaceful resolution.
U.S. President George W. Bush welcomed Mr. Qaddafi’s promise, saying it would lead Libya to better relations with the United States. Kim Jong-il does not have much time to decide whether to be a Saddam or a Qaddafi. If Mr. Kim cares for his people, he has only one choice.