[VIEWPOINT]Nuclear powers shake up order

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[VIEWPOINT]Nuclear powers shake up order

As the Bush administration’s global strategy is materializing in the second term, Washington’s unilateral foreign policy that prioritizes its own national interests continues. During the first term, the Bush Administration had been criticized by many countries, including those in Europe, for unilaterally refusing to sign the Kyoto Protocol to limit greenhouse gas emissions and carrying out a strike on Iraq without a UN resolution.
In the second term, the Bush administration is working to attain Washington’s position in the reform of the UN Security Council and has caused the rupture of the seventh Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty Review Conference as it intended to. Meanwhile, President Bush had a summit meeting with the head of India on July 18 and promised to provide cooperation for the peaceful use of nuclear power instead of applying sanctions against the country that carried out nuclear experiments twice outside the boundary of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.
Washington’s policy fundamentally revises the existing nonproliferation policies, and observers are concerned that it could shake the backbone of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty from its roots.
The foreign policy strategy of the Bush administration in the second term shows a strong will to refrain from using military force and resolve international conflicts with diplomacy unlike in the first term. However, Washington maintains a consistent posture to establish a new world order, international norms and international organization needed to keep the global hegemony of the United States.
In order to do that, Washington uses a diplomatic strategy that is a combination of unilateralism and cooperation, bilateralism and multilateralism, depending on the case.
In the summit meeting between the United States and India, President Bush welcomed the prime minister of India as a state guest and promised cooperation in the nuclear energy field because Washington had decided that it was necessary to bring India on as an ally in order to check China.
By recognizing the nuclear possession by India, a non-member of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, and providing nuclear fuel and technology to India for the peaceful use of the nuclear program under the control of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Washington virtually broke the existing nuclear order based on the Nuclear Nonproliferation treaty and created new international rules.
In May, the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty Review Conference broke off without reaching an agreement after interests of each nation collided. At the time, Washington stressed the reinforcement of nuclear nonproliferation and the restriction of the peaceful use of nuclear power but was passive in promoting the reduction of nuclear armaments.
In fact, the United States has been developing new nuclear weapons to attack underground bunkers according to the new, post-9/11 nuclear strategy. After watching the development of U.S. policy, the international community believes that Washington wants to break the multilateral regulation of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and create a joint network among nations under the leadership of the United States in order to establish a new nuclear order that differentiates each nation.
Washington’s position of restricting the peaceful usage of nuclear power has become less convincing after its deal with India, and therefore, the nations with little risk of nuclear proliferation are likely to be allowed to use nuclear power for peaceful purposes under the auspices of the International Atomic Energy Agency. The United States justified the collaboration with India as an exception because it has actively supported America’s war against terrorism and there is no possibility that it will give terrorist groups nuclear arms.
Behind the explanation lies Washington’s need to keep China in check and the prospect for increased demand for energy in India, whose economy continues to grow by 6 percent annually. However, considering the geographical environment, it is still unknown whether India can become a rival of China’s. In April, China and India put an end to their border dispute and promised to increase trade between the two nations. Moreover, the U.S. assistance for India requires consent of the Nuclear Suppliers Group, which regulates exports of nuclear-related goods.
As the United States unilaterally reshuffles the international order and norms, how will Korea fare in the new international environment? What choices does Korea need to make? What should we do to eliminate worries about nuclear proliferation and increase the possibility of being permitted to use nuclear power for peaceful purposes? Most of all, we need to enhance international trust and participate in the joint network led by the United States.
Seoul needs to devise a strategy to keep both the United States and China as partners by developing the collaboration and alliance with the United States and convincing Washington of the importance of China as a geographical neighbor and Korea’s reconciliation with China as an ally of the United States.
With strategic flexibility, Korea needs to display a balanced diplomacy of open neutrality based on the Korea-U.S. alliance.

*The writer is a researcher at the Sejong Institute. Translation by the JoongAng Daily staff.

by Kim Soung-chul
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