Waiting for an answer

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Waiting for an answer

What goes around comes around, and justice will prevail in the end. President Lee Myung-bak’s special address to the nation yesterday and his announcement detailing a wide array of government-level countermeasures to North Korea are aimed at correcting the communist regime’s wrongheaded behavior and putting bilateral relations on the right track. North Korean leaders should never forget the points Lee tried to make in his speech.

First of all, North Korea should put an end to its infamous behavioral patterns - this time, bringing the false charge that the Cheonan incident was fabricated by South Korea and irrationally intensifying its signature threats against the South - rather than admitting to its wrongdoing openly.

The government’s punitive measures for North Korea are unprecedentedly resolute. On the surface, what the South wants from the North is only an apology and punishment of the people involved in the Cheonan sinking. However, until these requests are fulfilled, the South Korean government plans to push forward a series of tough policies including cutting off the existing sea lanes between the two countries, restriction of bilateral exchange, international sanctions, resumption of psychological warfare, intensified control of additional military provocations and more active participation in the Proliferation Security Initiative to stop trafficking of weapons of mass destruction.

In addition, the United States is preparing to launch new financial sanctions toward North Korea, and Japan and the European Union are set to follow suit.

If North Korea continues to ignore warnings like these, it will have to pay a high price, unlike that which it has experienced thus far.

The purpose of the government’s sanctions against the North is obvious. As President Lee made clear in his address, the countermeasures aim to achieve stability and peace on the Korean Peninsula, co-prosperity of the Korean people and eventually the peaceful reunification of the two states. To accomplish such a noble goal, we have for 60 years put up with all the North’s atrocities and held out our hands to North Korea to help it overcome its economic predicament.

Yet the North answered our goodwill with the deadly sinking of the Cheonan in the Yellow Sea. And there is a limit to a country’s ability to endure.

Now it’s time for North Korea to answer back. We will consider its apology for the Cheonan tragedy and its promise to never repeat such misery in the future as a litmus test for its sincerity. The more delayed its answer is, the more pain it will have to suffer. We urge the North to refrain from rash judgment. It should not forget that if it intends to test our firm determination with a new round of provocations, it will only hasten its own self-destruction. The North should give up its paranoiac dream and join a much brighter world. It must take part in the exchanges and mutual prosperity of our world.
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