Despite North Korea's defiance, world must remain calm

Source:Global Times Published: 2017/9/15 15:37:00

North Korea launched a new ballistic missile on Friday morning, which Japanese and South Korean reports said flew over Hokkaido, Japan before falling into the Pacific, traveling a distance of 3,700 kilometers. The launch is the first since North Korea's sixth nuclear test and the new UN sanctions on Pyongyang. 

Given the current situation, there are several points that need to be made clear. 

North Korea has aimed to acquire nuclear and missile capabilities at all costs. Their latest tests have shown they are able to strike a US military base in Guam. Emboldened by the breakthrough, North Korea will continue its research of missiles capable of reaching US territory despite warnings from the international community.

In spite of their progress, Pyongyang is unlikely to be bold enough to preemptively attack the US and its allies. This would be nothing more than suicide. It also runs contrary to the true purpose of North Korea's missile research - to extend the life of its regime. 

Though sanctions cannot put an immediate stop to North Korea's nuclear and missile ambitions, the agreement reached by the UN Security Council against North Korea shows the unity of international community and coordination among major countries. A split among major countries would create space for North Korea's military program. As long as the international community effectively manages its disputes, North Korea will be blocked from becoming a legitimate nuclear power. The international society must stay calm in the face of North Korea's missile launch. Pyongyang's provocations fail politically as long as the international community remains poised. Any provocation that sends major countries into chaos is a political success for Pyongyang. 

The challenge to the international society is how to effectively control the complex situation triggered by North Korea's missile tests, and prevent a proliferation of its impact. The possibility for North Korea to be able to stir up Northeast Asia and the Asia-Pacific region with several nuclear bombs in hand must be prevented. 

The US and South Korea should change their previous strategies of threats of force in order to reduce tensions on the Korean Peninsula. Even though sanctions will have an effect in a long run, increasing military pressure on North Korea will only do the opposite. This morning, South Korea launched two missiles in immediate response to North Korea's launch. This will only encourage the North. Does Seoul truly believe that its missiles will scare Pyongyang? 

The US and South Korea should make efforts to guide North Korea into a new strategic direction. An isolated North Korea will be more rational if the international society treats it in a rational way.  

Sanctions by the UN Security Council are at the center of international efforts against North Korea's missile programs. However, dialogues, a more effective approach, are still lacking. The situation on the Korean Peninsula may develop either toward a comparative stabilization or an out of control disaster. North Korea may be a rule breaker, but the US and South Korea are the real uncertainty.  

Whether the US and South Korea are willing to fulfill their roles in the peaceful resolution of this nuclear crisis will decide the future of the Korean Peninsula. North Korea's nuclear provocations will lose steam amid these increasingly stringent sanctions.

Posted in: EDITORIAL

blog comments powered by Disqus