[EDITORIALS]Irresponsible remarksPresident Roh said South Korea’s military maintains superior weight against North Korea armed with nuclear weapons. He also emphasized that the North could deliver a critical blow but it cannot win against South Korea. Thus, North Korea cannot wage war against us, according to him. He made a similar remark one month ago.
President Roh’s repeated remarks seem to reveal that he has a serious problem, more than underestimating the danger of North Korea’s nuclear weapons. He emphasizes that North Korea will not wage war against us even though it is armed with nuclear devices. He maintains that South Koreans and other people in neighboring countries should not overreact.
His perception and responses will lead North Korea to further development of nuclear weapons.
North Korea has continued to develop nuclear weapons for more than 20 years, ignoring Korea’s and international society’s opposition and attempts to persuade it to abandon its nuclear weapons and technology. North Korea even went ahead with a nuclear test, the final step to become a nuclear state. Due to this, North Korea has become increasingly isolated in international society and has been placed under a range of sanctions.
These are proper punishments on North Korea for severely damaging the peace and stability of the Korean Peninsula and international society. It is certain that it will have to pay a higher price unless it abandons its nuclear weapons and technology.
President Roh stands against this trend. So does Lee Jong-seok, the unification minister who is soon to step down. Mr. Lee visited Mount Kumgang and Kaesong in North Korea. He wants to send a message, not only to South Korea but to other countries, that the inter-Korean businesses in Mount Kumgang and Kaesong will continue despite the North’s nuclear test.
President Roh’s remarks and Minister Lee’s moves are like promising North Korea that nothing will happen if it keeps its nuclear weapons.
It is obvious what consequences will come about. South Korea has become one of the major donors to North Korea, which depends heavily on the South for its survival.
When South Korea hints that it will keep providing aid to the North, there is no chance that North Korea will abandon its nuclear weapons. It is more likely that North Korea will believe that if it has more nuclear arms we will give it more aid, until we have nothing left to provide.