[EDITORIALS]Time for a better futureAfter much ado, the six-party talks resume today. It has been 15 months since the September 2005 agreement was adopted in an attempt to resolve North Korea’s nuclear problem, secure peace on the Korean Peninsula and create lasting stability for Northeast Asia.
During this unsettling period the situation has been aggravated as North Korea and the United States, the two primary parties to the talks, resolved to move apart instead of implementing the agreement. One party launched a nuclear test that was met by increased sanctions from the other.
However, now that both parties have shown a strong determination to negotiate, much is expected from the talks. We hope the six-party talks will establish a permanent peace on the Korean Peninsula and in Northeast Asia and prepare the basis for peaceful prosperity in the region.
It is too early to be overly optimistic about the talks. To succeed, they must change the strategy North Korea says it has adopted to ensure its own survival, namely the creation of a nuclear weapons program that contradicts international law.
However, the aim of the talks can be achieved. We believe that the talks should provide North Korea with incentives to set in motion institutional reforms that must be implemented if it is to shed its image as a rogue state.
Meanwhile, we urge North Korea to see that the talks are the last opportunity that international society will provide before applying severe sanctions. North Korea must come to the talks with a practical and constructive attitude. Needless to say, South Korea, China, Japan and Russia are also required to bear their share of responsibility for the success of the talks.
North Korea’s nuclear program came about as a result of the collapse of the Cold War-era socialist regimes that cast a shadow over the last century.
Most socialist nations have tried to embrace the reforms that were required for them to adapt to a new international order. Yet North Korea could not, presumably because its system is frozen in time, which, ironically, means North Korea must now implement even stronger reforms.
Without making changes, North Korea will not be freed from isolation. Nor does its isolation secure survival. In fact the reverse is true. Similarly, it is apparent that time is not on the side of North Korea. North Korea should seize the opportunity offered by the six-party talks to build a better future.