Updated February. 10, 2005 22:44
North Korea has held out an ominous card. The announcement by Pyongyangs Foreign Ministry to refuse to return to the negotiating table and declare to go nuclear is a risky idea that puts a damper on the possibility of resolving the Norths nuclear issue through dialogue. This is nothing but a claim to be treated as nuclear power by the international community, which may spell disaster on the Korean peninsula.
With the communist nations announcement on February 10, 2005, the North Korean nuclear standoff has become a totally different issue. Some opposition has been made against the Norths nuclear possession so far, and even a few officials within the South Korean government had expressed suspicions. The dispute over the Norths nuclear issue has now become futile. There should be no further confusion such as calling for confirmation of the presence of nuclear weapons in North Korea on the grounds that the possession is a unilateral claim by the North.
Pyongyang has shocked the world with twin provocations by declaring its possession of nuclear weapons and refusing to resume the six-party talks. This is not an attitude to address the problems through dialogue at all. In this regard, the North Korean government cannot avoid suspicions that the reason for its refusal to participate in the six-way talks since June of last year has not been to demand U.S. policy change against the North, but to finalize its possession of nuclear power.
Pyongyangs argument that the second term Bush administration has made it a policy not to coexist with the North is also hardly convincing. Since U.S. President George W. Bush delivered his State of the Union address last week, the world has reached a consensus that Bush made efforts not to provoke the North. President Bush had attacked Iran and Syria, but only briefly mentioned a resolution to the nuclear standoff through the six-way talks concerning the Stalinist nation.
The Norths rejection of resuming the dialogue has enormous implications as it indicates its distrust against all of the participants of the six-party talks, including the U.S. and South Korea. Pyongyang may think the current developments of the nuclear standoff are what it had intended, but if so, it would be an outrageous misjudgment. Once the North has officially declared itself as a nuclear power, a failure to resume talks will only lead to sanctions such as being referred to the U.N. Security Council. It must not forget that there is no single neighboring country, including China that will tolerate its nuclear armament.