[LETTERS to the editor]North Korea’s only option is 6-way talksNorth Korea’s launch of seven missiles resulted in the United Nations Security Council passing a resolution imposing limited sanctions. The resolution condemns North Korea’s provocative action, warns it to stop further provocation and urges it to return to the six-way nuclear talks.
Particularly noticeable was China joining in the resolution. With the DPRK-China Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance, China has been one of North Korea’s few allies. But even though the five permanent Security Council members favored different approaches, they raised a unified voice against North Korea. If North Korea had expected to get the United States to agree to bilateral talks by inflicting this missile crisis, it seems to have failed. The North might have succeeded in getting attention, but its main purpose was hardly served.
Now, the U.S. and Japan are likely to take advantage of “the North Korean threat” to militarize. Japan, especially, has militant ambitions to increase power in Asia. After the launch, Japan is planning to build new satellites to watch North Korea. The U.S. and Japan are looking for tougher sanctions against North Korea.
In my perspective, North Korea’s action was foolhardy and gained nothing, benefiting only the U.S. and Japan. In addition, South Korea is now in a most difficult position; it has, in fact, become completely isolated. For instance, the United States and Japan even didn’t try to talk with South Korea in the process of making their proposal for the Security Council resolution. China and Russia also drafted an alternative resolution on their own. South Korea was left with no significant part in dealing with the issue.
South Korea needs to play a key role, not simply be an assistant or a mediator. While working with the international community, South Korea should lead to find a solution to the crisis. For its part, the North Korean regime must not worsen its isolation and confrontation with the international community. Its brinkmanship would not work anymore. The UN resolution might sound mild, but it has a strong impact. North Korea has only one option left ― to return to the talks.
by Yu Jiyung