World needs to encourage North Korea with concrete action

Source:Global Times Published: 2018/4/21 10:09:10

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un said Friday Pyongyang will stop nuclear tests and launches of intercontinental ballistic missiles starting April 21 and shut down a major test site. He also said North Korea will never use nuclear weapons “unless there is a nuclear threat or nuclear provocation,” “nor will North Korea transfer nuclear weapons and technology.” According to Kim, North Korea will focus on developing a “strong socialist economy” and “will intensify close ties and dialogue” with neighboring countries and the international community.  

This is very good news and a major step toward peace and stability in the Korean Peninsula. Pyongyang’s strategic decision could bring a turning point to the long-term turbulent peninsula. 

US President Donald Trump welcomed Pyongyang’s decision on Twitter and said he looks forward to the summit with Kim.  The immediacy of Twitter has made Trump the fastest responding world leader. 

Pyongyang has frequently sent goodwill signs since preparations for the PyeongChang Winter Olympics, but Washington had been skeptical of North Korea’s motives and said the US would not change its North Korea policy. The skepticism lasted until Friday. Trump vowed to continue sanctions against Pyongyang during his meeting with visiting Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. He also indicated the US would suspend preparations for the US-North Korea summit if Washington fails to see any hope of achieving results.   

However, the latest development shows the US, Japan and the West are dwarfed by Pyongyang’s sincerity toward peace and development. Pyongyang’s strategic thinking is simpler than the outside world thinks. 

During his historic visit to China last month, Kim expressed North Korea’s willingness to denuclearize and China expressed its firm support to North Korea’s legitimate security concerns. The visit comprehensively restored the high-level exchanges between China and North Korea and provided an important leverage for North Korea to consolidate its strategic confidence.

Pyongyang’s announcement to suspend all nuclear activities offers a major opportunity to bring the Korean Peninsula out of the Cold War shadows. Parties involved should seize the opportunity and push forward the situation. It is hoped that Washington will take real action to consolidate the upbeat atmosphere, which includes scrapping US-South Korea joint military drills or considerably reducing the size and frequency of the drills at the very least. The US, South Korea and Japan should immediately move to cancel their sanctions on North Korea except for sanctions in accordance with the UN resolutions.

The UN Security Council also needs to respond positively to Pyongyang’s latest announcement. It should immediately discuss partially reducing sanctions on North Korea and lifting the sanctions as the denuclearization on the peninsula advances to encourage Pyongyang. 

The international community should change its stereotypical view of North Korea and understand the difficult situation the country has undergone under pressure from the US-South Korea alliance. Western media needs to stop their attacks on North Korea, and create an enabling environment to achieve denuclearization on the peninsula.

We hope that the peninsula will embrace a new chapter.  A dual-suspension on the peninsula requires the efforts of the US and South Korea. The dual-track approach has taken shape. Seoul expressed its willingness to negotiate a peace treaty to officially end the Korean War, but Washington hasn’t made its stand clear. Some problems still require attention to achieve lasting peace on the peninsula. Relevant parties have to be determined and patient to maintain the momentum and prevent the situation from sliding back. We hope things will work out this way.


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