[EDITORIALS]North’s faulty judgmentSouth Korea’s Unification Minister Lee Jong-seok said North Korea has “some problem in its self judgment,” commenting on the delay in six-party talks on the country’s nuclear issue. The remark, given the current administration’s reluctance in criticizing North Korean regime, is an unusual one.
South Korea and the United States recently compromised their previous stance that the six-party talks and financial restrictions on North Korea should be dealt with separately, and suggested that North Korea discuss the normalization of U.S.-North Korea relations and the financial sanctions together in the six-party talks. North Korea refused the proposal, saying the full removal of sanctions should be completed prior to resuming talks.
Mr. Lee seems to believe the North’s stern stance on the issue, which made the United States further intensify pressure on the North and further enhanced North Korea-China relations, will have a negative impact on both Koreas. North Korea now seems determined to increase its dependence on China in order to survive amid increasing U.S. pressure and to continue its nuclear development program. But such a measure, which may help the nation temporarily, can never be the ultimate solution to help the nation survive.
China, whose priority is to develop its economy by 2030, is keenly aware that its relationship with the United States plays an important role in achieving its goal. Thus, China’s policy of defending North Korea is bound to face limits soon. North Korea is left with only one choice ― it needs to come to the six-party talks first and voice its opinions.
Now it is time to really pay attention to Mr. Lee’s comment that, “We can ask for [other countries] to give the North some breathing room only if it shows some signs of easing its stance.” There is not much time left.