Peace can’t include nukesThe relations between North Korea and the United States are set to improve rapidly. The first working-level talks held in New York, aimed at easing the hostility of the last 50 years between the two countries, are reported to have narrowed their differences of opinion on major issues, such as North Korea’s highly enriched uranium program. Envoys of the two countries say that the talks were beneficial and constructive.
Normalization of the ties between Washington and Pyongyang has merits for South Korea. North Korea has seen a security guarantee from the United States as an important way to maintain its regime and has increased tension on the Korean Peninsula in a bid to secure that guarantee. Thus, it was hard to bring peace to the region without improving ties between the United States and North Korea.
That is why promises between South and North Korea and those between the United States and North Korea have been broken in the past. We hope that through this bilateral contact, hostile relations between the United States and North Korea will come to an end.
There are several things to bear in mind. North Korea’s complete abolition of nuclear weapons and materials, including plutonium and highly enriched uranium, must be a prerequisite. Of course, American envoys have taken this stance.
After the recent talks, Christopher Hill stressed that there will be no denuclearized North Korea as long as there is highly enriched uranium. However, another government figure said late last month that the United States was not completely sure the North had highly enriched uranium, seemingly taking a step backward.
Suspicion arises about the United States’ true intentions. American key figures have not raised their voices to warn North Korea about nuclear arms and materials it possesses. We hope that the Bush administration will not be so desperate for diplomatic achievements that it mars the situation.
The Korean Peninsula is undergoing political turbulence due to improved relations between Pyongyang and Washington and between Pyongyang and Tokyo, and the resumption of inter-Korean meetings. The government must stick to firm principles when negotiating. With the principle that North Korea’s nuclear program is not acceptable at all, the government must work closely with the United States.
Improving ties with North Korea should be adjusted in accordance with the degree of resolution of North Korea’s nuclear issue.