North Korea announced
on Feb.10 that it had nuclear weapons and it refused to return
to six party talks with Russia, Japan, China, South Korea,
and the United States. North Korean leader Kim Jong ll said
the United States has a very “hostile” policy towards
North Korea, and it must be changed.
North Korea has demanded for several years that the United
States hold unilateral talks with it. The U.S. government
has refused so far.To talk with North Korea
unilaterally would put the United States in a position where, it alone, is requiring
North Korea to disarm its nuclear weapons. Without the aid of a six-party talk,
if North Korea and the United States would be forced to either back down or handle
this situation much as it handles almost all of its foreign conflicts, by force.
President Bush does not want to be left with only two options. Requiring multilateral
talks means that if North Korea refuses to disarm, the U.S. is not forced into
a war it does not want right now.
Recently, North Korea has hinted at returning to six-party
talks under some conditions. According to leader Kim Jong
ll, North Korea will return to talks if the United
States shows that it is “trustworthy” and “sincere.” How
exactly does the United States show this? The proposition is so vague that it
would allow North Korea to do whatever is expedient.
The six-party talks are geared towards convincing North Korea
to abandon its weapons in order to avoid being a threat towards
its Asian neighbors and the
United States. For doing so, North Korea will receive economic and diplomatic
rewards which includes security guarantees it wants from the United States.
“We share a concern about the events on the Korean Peninsula,” U.S.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told reporters. Sharing concern is an understatement.
Considering that North Korea is said to possess as many as 10 nuclear warheads
and missiles capable of reaching both Alaska and Hawai‘i, we must be extremely
cautious and very concerned.
Whatever the United States has to do to prove itself trustworthy
and sincere, it must go about doing so. Our nation is largely
divided about the conflict
going on in Iraq. Another military conflict would destroy the U.S. morale completely,
spread our forces to then make us look like the “Big Bully” that
the whole world perceives us to be. One war with Korea was bad enough; unless
Kim Jong ll actually attacks us, there is absolutely no reason for a sequel.