[EDITORIALS]A dangerous obsessionIt has just been revealed that the government asked the United States to delete a clause regarding the nuclear umbrella from the joint statement at last year’s Korea-U.S. Security Consultative Meeting. The request was rejected by the United States. However, the demand itself reveals that the administration has little understanding of national security.
The U.S. provision of a nuclear umbrella for South Korea has been included in the joint statements of the Security Consultative Meetings since 1978 and has functioned as an important deterrent toward North Korea. The clause was a warning to North Korea that acts of aggression could be punished with nuclear weapons. Kim Jong-il regarded the clause as a thorn in his side and, despite opposition from the military, the Blue House sought to remove the clause as part of its Sunshine Policy. The Blue House produced unpersuasive reasons for this move. It said the nuclear umbrella clause would make it more difficult for the North to abandon its nuclear weapons program at the six-party talks, which were held before the Security Consultative Meeting. This is not reasonable. Although a joint statement was adopted at the six-party talks, the situation worsened immediately. The North increased its nuclear threats, saying it had removed 8,000 spent fuel rods from its reactor and it had developed nuclear weapons for self-defense. In these circumstances, it’s hard to understand why the South Korean government was worried about the North’s resistance to disarmament when Pyongyang was already going in the opposite direction.
It seems the basic stance of the Roh administration is to confront the United States while embracing the North. Although this is a very dangerous policy, it might be justified if it had any chance of easing tensions between North and South Korea - but the administration knew it did not because they knew that North Korea was developing nuclear devices.
People might now think the government is not only blind to the degree of danger posed by the North but also intends to destroy the foundation of national security in our country. The administration has been pursuing abolition of the National Security Law, unconditional aid to the North and removal of the U.S. nuclear umbrella, exactly as the North wants. The future of this country is bleak if the administration plans to continue its obsession with pleasing the North while ignoring the South Korean people’s growing concerns about national security.