The North’s provocations

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The North’s provocations

Yesterday North Korea took measures that will only increase tension between South and North.

Pyongyang announced it would nullify all existing agreements aimed at resolving inter-Korean political and military confrontations, and abolish all clauses related to the Northern Limit Line, the border on the Yellow Sea.

The North justified its decision by saying there is no reason for only North Korea to be bound by agreements while the South continues politics of confrontation.

North Korea’s claim is like asking for the impossible.

North Korea has never faithfully carried out any agreements with South Korea, except those that would benefit the North. Nevertheless, Pyongyang lays blame with our government. It’s easy to guess the North’s intention. It wants to increase tension, pressure the South and justify hard-line measures for provocations it plans to take.

It may also attempt to cause divisions in our society or draw the attention of the United States where a new administration has taken office.

This is truly regretful. Does North Korea truly believe that provocations can resolve inter-Korean issues? Does it plan to try all conceivable measures to see if South Korea gives in? Pyongyang’s attitude makes inter-Korean issues look like a comedy in international society.

We urge the North to take a more serious and sincere attitude toward inter-Korean issues. Whether in quarrel or battle, confrontations never resolve problems. War and confrontation are the very reasons the South and North are separate. There is no way besides dialogue to resolve issues. Only when we talk can we hope to improve inter-Korean relations.

We have a few words for our own government as well. North Korea has been pushed into a corner and thus is obstinate. Just as it has done for the past year, the North will only increase its pressure on us. There is no guarantee that it won’t close the Kaesong Industrial Complex.

No good can come from military clashes, whether large-scale or small. A responsible administration will not neglect inter-Korean relations and allow them to worsen, saying it will teach the North a lesson not to keep asking for the impossible.

An obstinate partner will not come to the negotiation table just because it was urged to do so.

Because South Korea is better off, we must be careful not give the impression that we push through what we want using power. It is important to make serious efforts to prepare conditions that are conducive to dialogue.

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