No time to delayDec. 31 is the deadline for North Korea to present a full list of its nuclear facilities, but the country still seems to be hesitating.
As pressure from the United States intensifies, the light for the six-party talks has turned red, leading to fears that nuclear crisis could reignite. At this stage, the U.S. would be happy with precise details of the North’s nuclear facilities, even if the deadline is not met. But Washington will not wait indefinitely.
Notification on the nuclear programs is the gateway to denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula, so what North should do first is clear up suspicion over its uranium enrichment program.
The U.S. is calling upon the North to shed light on this program. It is understood that traces of uranium enrichment have been identified in the 140 tons of high-impact aluminum tube samples that North Korea purchased from Russia.
However, North Korea has the nerve to feign innocence by lying that it was used for a different purpose -- such as the production of rocket bombs.
The disclosure of the uranium enrichment program could be making North Korea feel extremely nervous, as if it were crossing over a bridge of no return.
However, there is no room for doubt that, unless it passes over to the other shore, the North cannot maintain its regime or revive its economy.
The U.S. president sent a personally signed letter and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice offered preferable conditions to the North, saying, “There is no eternal enemy to the United States.”
A second chance will not come as easily or as quickly.
Should the North test the Lee Myung-bak administration by delaying, it would be a foolish miscalculation. The foremost principle for President-elect Lee in resolving the North Korean nuclear issues is to bolster closer relationships between South Korea and the United States. Kim Jong-il should be well aware that further delays will certainly lead to further suspicions and tensions.