[EDITORIALS]Counterfeiting mistakesSouth Korea and the United States have been arguing over the appropriate punitive measures to take against North Korea for counterfeiting U.S. dollars. A U.S. official said the country demanded that South Korea take part in economic sanctions during diplomatic talks held in Seoul recently. But the South Korean government strongly denied that happened.
The issue is crucial to holding together the six-party talks about North Korea’s nuclear program. The fact that Seoul and Washington disagree about what happened is of strong concern. Both sides are issuing differing statements, which is shameful because the two nations are allies.
South Korea’s government first needs to change its attitude. The government, which has been saying “how could we acknowledge currency counterfeiting charges when the North is simply denying it?” or saying, “There is no clear evidence,” should not give the impression it is defending the North.
We cannot react this way about currency counterfeiting, which is a serious international crime that could even be a cause for war. From now on, South Korea’s government needs to remind North Korea that the six-party talks and currency counterfeiting are different issues and should be dealt with separately, while encouraging it to participate in the talks. Seoul also needs to demand that the North take a clear stance on counterfeiting by acknowledging the situation.
Also, the United States needs to avoid reacting emotionally on this issue and simply announcing its opinion, knowing that doing so would displease Seoul.