[EDITORIALS]Stalling won’t help the North

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[EDITORIALS]Stalling won’t help the North

Details of the U.S. plan to a resolution to North Korea’s nuclear program have received much attention. According to the proposed first stage, North Korea would report all nuclear activities in return for compensation detailed in five articles, including crude oil aid and exemption from the U.S. list of terrorist-supporting states.
For the second stage, North Korea would receive a permanent security guarantee as well as the normalization of ties with the United States when it completely dismantles its nuclear program.
These are the details of the “surprise” rewards for North Korea that U.S. National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice talked about during her visit to Seoul on Friday. This road map is the “final card” that the Bush administration has offered to North Korea with the U.S. presidential election only months away.
The U.S. government’s new proposal backs off considerably from its previous position of “no compensation before verification.” Ms. Rice’s visit to China, Japan and Korea was made in order to ensure cooperation for a united front based on this revised position of the United States.
North Korea has arrived at a point where it needs to make its decisions based on these signs of change and act prudently. It is our sincere hope that North Korea sheds its old custom of relying on brinkmanship tactics to demand more. The Bush administration will never give in to the “tantrums” of North Korea.
Pyeongyang should also know that it is a mistake to think that it can wait until the U.S. presidential election is over. The Democratic Party supports bilateral talks with Pyeongyang, but that does not mean it will tolerate North Korea’s nuclear program. North Koreans should remember that it was the Democratic Party that was ready to attack the nuclear facilities in North Korea during the crisis in 1994.
Above all, North Korea should keep in mind that time is not on its side. Although it is trying to carry out some economic reforms, without external assistance the economic situation will only get worse. North Korea must follow in the footsteps of Libyan President Muammar Qaddafi. By giving up its nuclear ambitions completely, Libya is now able to enjoy various privileges. We once more urge North Korea to abandon its nuclear program in the fourth round of six-way talks, which will take place in September.
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