Toughen up on North Korea

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Toughen up on North Korea

North Korea has once again appeared as a “rogue” state that acts out reckless military provocation in violation of the 1953 armistice agreement. It must be ready to answer for its act of aggression.

The report prepared by a joint investigative team concluded that North Korea fired the torpedo that sank the 1,200-ton Cheonan warship, killing 46 sailors.

The decisive evidence is a propulsion unit uncovered near the site of the sinking that is identical to the blueprint of a North Korea-built CHT-02D torpedo that the North included in an arms export catalog.

The report was prepared by a team of South Korean civilian and military experts as well as investigators from the United States, Britain, Australia, Sweden and Canada.

But North Korea appears to have ruled out any thoughts of admitting to its crime and seeking forgiveness for its actions.

Even before the investigators had finished announcing their findings, the North’s National Defense Commission issued a statement threatening an all-out war if South Korea chooses to retaliate against what it claims are fabricated findings related to the Cheonan sinking.

We are sick and tired of North Korea’s audacity and belligerence. The statement from the country’s top authority was worded with spiteful emotion: “How dare the South blame our leadership!” it said. It bristled at the mention of its leader Kim Jong-il and exposed the senselessness of its deified dictatorship.

North Korea’s actions and its use of words are no different from those of a gangster.

We have given the North a great deal of financial aid and numerous economic opportunities over the years with the hope that things will change.

But it’s time to dampen our expectations.

The Cheonan attack is different from the atrocities the North has committed in the past, such as the assassination of South Korean leaders in Rangoon, Burma, in 1983 and its bombing of a Korean Air passenger aircraft in 1987.

The previous decade of engagement under the Sunshine Policy has failed to warm North Korean leaders and has only caused them to look down on us, so we must toughen our policy on North Korea.

We cannot be safe from future provocations if we do not punish them in the present for the losses we’ve incurred with the Cheonan. After all, a gangster kneels when faced with a stronger contender.

We must teach the North a lesson so that they do not dare to provoke us again. We must push them at least until they apologize and promise never to commit another act of aggression.

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