[EDITORIALS]Balance security and aidNorth Korea seems to be preparing to fire a Taepodong-2 missile, which has a maximum range of 6,000 kilometers, or 3,700 miles. Some Japanese media said that satellite photos showed the long-range missile, which is 35 meters, or 115 feet, in total length, was being moved to a launch pad at a test facility.
South Korea’s Defense Ministry said that it was monitoring the situation closely and trying to verify the facts through several channels. Although we cannot know whether or not the North will launch the missile, it certainly is in the middle of preparation for a launch. The circumstances around this move need to be looked into.
Pyongyang insisted that the Northern Limit Line should be reset during recent senior military talks. It did not pay attention to signing an agreement for test operations of cross-border railroads, which were scheduled for May 25.
While having talks with the South to ease military tension, North Korea focused on disputing the Yellow Sea boundary and has been preparing in secret to launch a missile.
This is part of the North’s strategy. While pretending to be eager to have talks with the South, North Korea is playing a game of brinksmanship in order to survive heavy U.S. pressure, such as economic sanctions, by increasing military tensions.
It is hard to understand why North Korea cannot see that this tactic is suicidal. North Korea is now being isolated more than ever in the international community because of its abductions and human rights violations. Its economic situation has little chance of improving either. The system stays afloat only thanks to the aid from South Korea and China.
If North Korea fires a missile, what countries would want to help it? North Korea should know that no country would give in to such threats.
Pyongyang must know how the Bush administration would respond to such behavior. China would respond to the North also, because stability on the Korean Peninsula is one of China’s major concerns. Thus, Pyongyang must abandon its crazy idea of launching a missile.
Seoul should give up its simple logic that supporting the North will solve all problems. The government should ask itself whether negotiations on measures to ease military tension can continue when North Korea is developing nuclear weapons and threatens to fire missiles. Seoul must find a balance between “security” and “cooperation.”