[EDITORIALS]Steady hand with North KoreaU.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Japanese Foreign Minister Nobutaka Machimura agreed over the weekend that it would be inevitable to take North Korea’s nuclear program to the United Nations’ Security Council if a diplomatic solution cannot be reached.
The two nations pressured North Korea with strong words, condemning its nuclear weapons as a “direct threat” and urging for an “early and unconditional resumption of the six-party talks.” President Roh Moo-hyun said last weekend that the crisis surrounding North Korea’s nuclear development could possibly turn tense. We cannot hide our anxiety as it seems the chances of a confrontation are more likely rather than a diplomatic solution.
North Korea’s ambassador to the United Nations has said that by declaring its possession of nuclear weapons, it has its back against the wall and will only return to the talks if the United States promises peaceful coexistence.
It seems like the Stalinist state’s plans are designed to raise the tension and threat levels to the highest level possible and have the United States agree to bilateral talks. But it is becoming obvious that the North’s strategy is turning out into a failure as a result of miscalculations. The United States is heightening pressure on the North, rather than opening negotiations. The unfriendly attitudes and condemning voices toward the North are increasing not only in the Bush administration but also in Congress.
The reason that the Bush administration is presenting the six-way talks as the lone solution is because it views the problems surrounding North Korea’s nuclear development as a regional issue limited to Northeast Asia.
In other words, the North’s threat is not as urgent to the United States as it is to South Korea, China and Japan. This means North Korea will most likely be unable to receive what it wants by dragging its feet in returning to negotiations. It must return to the six-party talks if it wants its demands to be met. North Korea must bear in mind that the only way for it to receive a guarantee of its security is to return to the negotiating table.
Also, the United States must keep in mind that the application of excessive pressure on North Korea will not be helpful in finding a desirable solution.
Now is a time for a unified stance to bring North Korea back to the negotiating table.