[EDITORIALS]Can he bite?In his administrative policy speech for the next year, President Roh Moo-hyun said yesterday that North Korea’s possession of nuclear arms is an unacceptable provocation and the North should not possess nuclear weapons.
But he added, “Peace is of the highest value and, in the broad picture, the most important principle is peace and prosperity in inter-Korean relations.” Thus he left it unclear how he plans to make North Korea abandon its nuclear arms.
When the president said that the North's possession of nuclear weapons is unacceptable, he should have mapped out how he intends to deprive Pyongyang of its nuclear status. The president should have sent a warning to North Korea that the door for dialogue is still open, but that it would pay a harsh price unless it abandons its nuclear devices.
Furthermore he should have made a commitment to work more closely with the international community. But instead he has allowed discord to break out over the issue of whether or not South Korea joins the Proliferation Security Initiative.
South Korea did not provoke North Korea into conducting its nuclear test. South Korea has given enormous aid to the North, hoping that by engaging the North, the North would change its ways and join the international community.
But North Korea conducted its nuclear test, pursuing Kim Jong-il’s obsession to possess nuclear weapons no matter what.
As a result, South Koreans and the international community have agreed that the policy of engaging North Korea has reached its limit for now and instead sanctions must be imposed.
The president says the North’s possession of nuclear weapons is unacceptable, but he talks about a solution which is based on discussions rather than sanctions, as if the North had not conducted its test at all. Thus people suspect the president lacks the determination to make North Korea give up its nuclear weapons program. Of course, the North’s nuclear crisis should be resolved peacefully. However, President Roh should understand that his vague stance only worsens the situation by making our nation look weak.
We sincerely hope his words,“The North's nuclear possession is unacceptable,” are not empty rhetoric to disguise his real intentions. Instead, he should present concrete and realistic measures that will prevent the North from possessing nuclear weapons. Only then can the South Korean people rest easily.