Updated : May.30.2005 06:40 KST

[Editorial] Confusing US Actions at a Sensitive Time

It is causing concern that at a time when North Korea will be making its final decision about the nuclear issue and whether to participate in the six-party talks, the United States continues to make moves that could negatively influence the way the situation unfolds. Examples would be how the US has suddenly stopped searching for the remains of American soldiers lost in the Korean War and has decided to station stealth bombers in Korea, and because US officials are raising the level of the rhetoric by saying the US is preparing strategies for what it will do should the six-party talks fall apart. It is pressuring the North to decide to give up its nuclear program, but it risks increasing the tension on the Korean peninsula if the North gets upset and calls the pressure a military threat.

Of course it is too early to tell what will happen, as those within the Bush Administration who support dialogue continue to try to get North Korea back to the talks and because the North is finalizing its position after having heard the Bush Administration's intentions through the "New York channel." But it goes without saying that the confusing messages and provocative rhetoric coming from the US side is going to have a negative effect on the North's decision about returning to the talks.

North and South Korea have decided that the South will send a government delegation to Pyongyang for an event marking the fifth anniversary of the intra-Korean summit, and dialogue between the two has been restored after eight months with a decision to hold ministerial-level talks in Seoul. The resumption of intra-Korean dialogue will clearly play a positive role in creating a mood favorable for resolving the nuclear issue. The US-Korea summit scheduled for November in Washington will determine the larger framework for solving the issue.

We strongly caution against hard-liners in the US provoking the North or creating reasons for avoiding dialogue at such a sensitive time. Our government must do all it can diplomatically to prevent that from happening. We call on the North to delay no longer and explain its position at the six-party talks.

The Hankyoreh, 30 May 2005.

[Translations by Seoul Selection (PMS)]

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