[EDITORIALS]Nuclear crisis demands solutionNow Pyeongyang has declared possession of nuclear weapons, Seoul and Washington’s response is being watched with keen interest.
Currently, Seoul and Washington are calm. It seems that they think they may get involved in Pyeongyang’s brinkmanship strategy if they react sensitively on the issue. Still, Seoul is moving fast and holding emergency government meetings. Foreign Minister Ban Ki-moon also said the North’s admission is a “new situation.” Indeed, the South Korean government is concerned about the issue.
We believe the government should establish new and comprehensive measures to resolve the nuclear standoff in the Korean Peninsula as long as a “new situation” is developing. Pyeongyang’s statement this time made Seoul’s stance against Washington weaker. So far, Seoul has delivered the message to Washington that Pyeongyang will give up its nuclear program if its political system is guaranteed and if it receives economic support. And Washington accepted Seoul’s request by not aggravating Pyeongyang in President George W. Bush’s State of the Union address. Now, Seoul is in a difficult situation.
We believe the South Korean government’s short-sighted policies concerning North Korea have caused the present difficulty. We ask the government to reflect and find out whether the current situation resulted from its unwarranted optimism that not getting on Pyeongyang’s nerves would lead to the communist regime giving up its nuclear program and normalizing inter-Korean relations.
The government should also reflect on President Roh Moo-hyun’s previous remark, that appeared to recognize Pyeongyang’s possession of nuclear arms, without any explanation on the future of South Korea’s national security. The government should retract its unstrategic policy of “unilaterally siding with North Korea.” The North’s nuclear declaration clearly demonstrated that doing so will never help.
Diplomacy and national security is not a desk theory but a reality. To cooperate with Pyeongyang is one thing; to strengthen national security is another. We should be resolute against any nuclear problems that decisively threaten our national security.
What is needed foremost is to find out the true intention of Pyeongyang. Seoul and Washington should closely cooperate in finding out the North’s intention.