Not the path for the North

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Not the path for the North

North Korea is demanding that South Korea accept the ridiculous request that an inspection team from the North Korean Military Commission be allowed to examine the results of the joint civilian and military investigation of the Chenoan sinking.

South Korean Minister of Defense Kim Tae-young immediately rejected the demand, saying, “It’s akin to a murderer asking to examine the scene of the crime himself.”

Now, the international community is joining the efforts to penalize North Korea for its crime. President Lee Myung-bak will make a special announcement regarding the tragic incident and set out to implement various countermeasures. On her visit to China, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is actively persuading China not to condone the North’s reckless behavior.

Not only the United States but also the European Union, Japan and other Western countries are jumping on the bandwagon to punish North Korea. Even India, the leader of the Non-Aligned Movement and an advocate of balanced diplomacy between the two Koreas in the past, is blaming the North. The international community looks as though it will not forgive the North, which has been threatening world peace with its nuclear ambitions and endless provocations.

Regardless, North Korea is fervently making threats against the South by citing the possibility of an all-out war rather than admitting its wrongdoing, sticking to the irrational insistence that South Korea’s findings have been fabricated, despite the existence of irrefutable evidence of a North Korean torpedo. Without knowing what’s going on in the world, the North is still clinging to its outdated strategy of not acknowledging its own culpability.

North Korea may expect China to stand by it. But the North is a headache even to China, as China cannot patronize its ally forever. If China continues to shelter the North, it will inevitably damage China’s new international stature as a superpower that is almost equivalent to the United States, costing it influence in the world.

The only way for the North to get out of this predicament is to admit what it has done and promise not to repeat it. Then, it must prove it is serious with actions, not with words. It could, for example, transform itself into a nonviolent country and move toward denuclearization.

South Africa had to face a painful period of isolation from the international community, in the form of expulsion from the United Nations in 1974, for instance, for its adherence to apartheid and its efforts to develop nuclear weapons. It took many long and agonizing years before the country regained its UN membership.

Does North Korea really want to follow in South Africa’s footsteps?
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