Work to do in WashingtonThe 2016 Nuclear Security Summit, which opens Thursday in Washington, is an important event to promote cooperation among major powers to address North Korean nuclear threats.
The fourth summit of its kind was originally aimed at preventing terrorist groups from maliciously using nuclear materials and facilities. As seen in the horrendous terrorist attacks last week in Brussels by the militant Islamic State, terrorists mean business and they may be targetting nuclear power plants. Given Korea’s reliance on nuclear power, the government must maintain the highest level of vigilance and take measures to avert any possible attacks by North Korea or the ISIS. The government must glean some wisdom on the issue from the summit in Washington.
But Korea has a more important thing to do. The government must take advantage of the summit to confirm close cooperation among concerned parties, including the United States, China and Japan. Unfortunately, North Korean nuclear issues were not discussed until the third nuclear summit due to China’s refusal. This year it is likely be different. President Park Geun-hye must aggressively raise the issue of the North’s nuclear armaments and draw cooperation from her partners.
Coincidently, the nuclear summit takes place at a very sensitive time. North Korea is likely to conduct a fifth nuclear test ahead of the 7th Workers’ Party convention on May 7. If the Kim Jong-un regime presses ahead with the test, it will most likely do so with miniaturization of nuclear warheads in mind. If Pyongyang succeeds in the nuclear test and obtains the technology required for long-range missiles’ re-entry into the atmosphere, that rings loud alarm bells as it signifies Pyongyang’s nuclear dream has come true.
The government must prevent another nuclear test by North Korea, which requires joint Korea-U.S. pressure and China’s help.
Considering Seoul’s frayed ties with Beijing over deployment of Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system in Korea, President Park must put relations back on track.
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has crossed a red line by endorsing the nuclear arming of Korea and Japan in an interview with the New York Times. His remarks will spark controversy. If Trump’s attack on South Korea for its “low contribution to the security on the peninsula” gains momentum, it will shake the foundations of the decades-long alliance. President Park must find an opportunity in Washington to dissuade U.S. opinion leaders from heeding Trump’s nonsense.
JoongAng Ilbo, Mar. 30, Page 34