[EDITORIALS]Bush II and the peninsulaThe re-election of President George W. Bush foretells that U.S. foreign policy will see no fundamental changes from the first term of his administration. The administration’s positions will remain unchanged on the issues of our particular interest, especially the nuclear crisis on the Korean Peninsula.
Until now, South Korea has not been maintaining smooth relations with the Bush administration on the North Korea issues. Such discord may continue if the two countries fail to establish a new relationship as the Bush administration goes into its second term.
And the continuation of such a situation will become a fatal threat to the U.S.-South Korea alliance, the core of security in Northeast Asia. The two countries must clear up their distrust and disappointment and open up a new future of cooperation.
The discord between Seoul and Washington is closely related to the future of the U.S.-South Korea alliance amid the power structure changes in Northeast Asia driven by China’s rapid growth, in addition to the nuclear problem in North Korea. The Bush administration will have to resolve the nuclear crisis one way or another during its second term.
During the course of resolving the nuclear crisis, the Korean Peninsula may find itself in the middle of unexpected storms. South Korea may have to make a difficult decision, standing in the midst of North Korea, China and the United States.
A reinforced alliance between Seoul and Washington, therefore, is needed more than at any time in the past. During the first term of the Bush administration, the two countries showed distrust and conflict in the realignment and reduction of the U.S. forces stationed here.
We believe that peace must be maintained on the peninsula; the United States firmly believes in nuclear nonproliferation. In order to prevent the clash of those two positions, trust is the most important value.
The two countries are now facing a time when they have to understand each other and be more considerate of each other. They should act with maturity, not unilateralism.
North Korea should also learn a lesson from the U.S. presidential election. It should learn that playing wait-and-see will never help its situation. North Korea should return to the six-nation talks as soon as possible and make a strategic decision to resolve the crisis.