[EDITORIALS]Hot line: A good idea spoiledThe hot line between the two Koreas’ navies, a key agreement of the recent inter-Korean military talks, has become useless. North Korea has been abusing it cleverly.
Over the past month, South Korea called the North 43 times, but received only 20 responses. The North gave no answer during its crossing of the Northern Limit Line in the Yellow Sea, but called the South after the border violation to make its one-sided claims. The North is paying a lot of attention to confusing the South.
The hot line was highly praised as a visible outcome of North-South dialogue that would prevent accidental naval clashes between the two Koreas. It is lamentable to see the hot line abused by the North. North Korea made absurd claims through the hot line that South Korea crossed the sea line itself. The hot line has become the North’s tool to disturb the South.
The original intention of establishing the hot line was different. It was a measure for peace by preventing accidental skirmishes between the two Koreas. By seeing the North’s abuse of this measure, our distrust on the North is inevitably deepening. North Korea must think about how the international community will perceive a country that breaks agreements without hesitation. If the North continues to do so, inter-Korean economic cooperation and international aid will not be forthcoming. It must remember that.
North Korea made clear its intention to stir up disputes near the Northern Limit Line. That is why the North has never earned anyone’s trust. The hot line was established based on the recognition of the Northern Limit Line, but the North is now taking advantage of the differences of opinion in the South between the military and the administration on how to handle incidents in the Yellow Sea.
It is time for the North to change its thinking. While speaking of one nation and peace, the North is trying to drive the South into confusion. But the North must not miscalculate by thinking that such behavior would provide it an opportunity. It must devote all its efforts to learn the way of earning the trust of the international community. The starting point of such trust is respecting the agreement that established the hot line and its spirit.
We also urge that the South Korean government grasp the North’s malicious intent and review the operations of the new hot line, starting with the way it is used.