A call to action against NorthThe world suspects North Korea is preparing to test-fire an intercontinental ballistic missile ahead of the Seoul-Washington summit meeting. On Friday, North Korea threatened the United Nations Security Council with “further self-defense measures” and snubbed its political partners China and Russia following warnings and rebukes over its nuclear test.
The recalcitrant North continues to isolate itself even further. Last week, the North tested a nuclear device and fired a series of short-range missiles, finally threatening a military attack on South Korea. The leaders appear to be losing their minds in a fit of desperation. The North’s bellicosity and brinkmanship in the past had been more or less a means to an end, aiming for economic reward or political gain. But this time, it is after something different - international recognition as a nuclear power.
Now that we have learned of North Korea’s goal, our next move is clear. We have to prevent North Korea from becoming a full-fledged nuclear power at all costs. The international community is already steering in that direction. The United Nations Security Council is more stringent than ever and is discussing tougher sanctions. China and Russia did not hide their anger, canceling all planned diplomatic events with North Korea. The defense ministers of South Korea, the United States and Japan declared they will never tolerate North Korea becoming a nuclear-armed state and issued a warning that the communist regime will pay for its provocations and threats to its neighbors.
Never has the international community been so united and determined to block North Korea’s nuclear program. For us, this is the biggest time of crisis and at the same time a major opportunity. To imagine a belligerent, isolated and unpredictable country like North Korea turning nuclear is a nightmare. The current situation provides us with the chance to quench North Korea’s nuclear ambitions altogether.
To do so, the government must be cool-headed and scrupulous. It must champion an international campaign to rein in the North’s nuclear development. The North will likely heighten its military provocations and threats to the South. We have to be prepared and ready for a possible military clash. We have to show that our determination will not waver and that we will weather whatever difficulties lie ahead.
Democratic Party leader Chung Se-kyun made an inopportune suggestion, calling on the government to change its hard-line policy against North Korea. Of course, we should not oppose North Korea all the time. But the North has made its nuclear ambitions clear, and time is running out before it becomes nuclear-armed.
We cannot turn to engagement and understanding at a time when North Korea is busy pursuing nuclear development. Conciliatory gestures can wait until after the North gives up its nuclear programs.