Diplomatic games

AFTER the recent progress in their relations, the US and North Korea seem to have drifted apart yet again. While North Korea talked tough this week threatening to boycott the six-party talks in Beijing if the US did not lift economic sanctions against the country, the US ambassador to South Korea has infuriated Pyongyang by terming it as a ‘criminal regime’ involved in arms trade, drug trafficking and currency forgery.

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Published: Fri 9 Dec 2005, 11:02 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 6:36 PM

Justifying US sanctions against the North Korean regime, the US ambassador to South Korea, Alexander Vershbow, argued that the sanctions were a ‘matter of law enforcement’. It is not easy to appreciate the timing of the diplomat’s far from diplomatic statement at this critical stage in the six-party negotiations and Washington-Pyongyang relations. Doubtless, North Korea is a criminal, corrupt and authoritarian regime that has taken its own people hostage. However, what is important at this stage is the peaceful resolution of North Korea’s nuclear weapons issue.

Peaceful engagement of the regime through dialogue, not unreasonably tough rhetoric, is the way to settle this business. This is not a minor diplomatic row in the US-North Korea relations but a life-and-death question concerning the security of not only Asia but the whole world. The world cannot afford dangerous diplomatic games when it faces grave threat to its security in Pyongyang’s nukes.

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