Draft imperfect, but it’ll doThe United Nations Security Council has agreed on a draft statement condemning the attack on a South Korean naval patrol ship that killed 46 sailors on March 26. The statement falls short of our expectations as it fails to censure North Korea. It instead cited a South Korean government-led five-nation investigative report that concluded that North Korea torpedoed the naval corvette.
In a subtle balancing act, the statement also included North Korea’s denial of its involvement.
The wording of the statement scrutinized by the five permanent members of the Security Council - the United States, Russia, China, France and Britain - as well as Japan and South Korea, condemns the attack that led to the sinking of the Cheonan without specifically blaming North Korea.
We must be content with the fact that the statement carries more evidence of South Korean influence than the Security Council presidential statement issued after a North Korean spy submarine invaded South Korean waters in 1996. South Korea together with the United States had to make a difficult case against North Korea, with China and Russia vehemently opposed to taking strong action or directly condemning the impoverished communist state.
Our responses to North Korea’s attack on the Cheonan will now be constrained following the softer-than-expected Security Council reaction. The government has delayed propaganda broadcasts along the border, but it is unlikely to follow up with North Korea threatening to shoot down the loudspeakers, which may potentially spark armed skirmishes between the two countries.
We must seek other measures to contain more provocative actions from North Korea. The planned war games to be conducted by South Korea and the United States off the west coast must fully demonstrate our joint military power, capable of intimidating North Korea. China remains adamantly against the joint maritime exercise near its coast, but we cannot give in for our security’s sake.
Separately from the Security Council move, the United States and Japan will likely join us in new economic and diplomatic pressure and sanctions against North Korea.
The problem is that such moves will likely end up as nothing more than a slap on the wrist for North Korea. We must concentrate on making our military stronger and more competent to stave off new provocations from North Korea. Additionally, we must strengthen efforts to denuclearize North Korea and guarantee perpetual peace on the peninsula. We have once again learned of geopolitical complications involving Korea. We must map out an intricate and farsighted North Korea policy in line with the ultimate goal of reunification. Based on this foundation, we must continue to march forward for sustained prosperity.