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A new Cold War?

Oct 23,2018
U.S. President Donald Trump’s bombshell statement is evoking the specter of a new Cold War in the 21st century. He expressed a willingness to scrap the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty signed by President Ronald Reagan and General Secretary of the Soviet Union Mikhail Gorbachev in Washington D.C. on December 8, 1987.

The treaty was aimed at banning the production, tests and deployment of ground-launched short- to mid-range ballistic and cruise missiles with a firing range of 500 to 5,500 kilometers (310 to 3,420 miles). The monumental treaty was lauded as the first step toward the goal of ending the decades-old Cold War. Thanks to the agreement, a total of 2,692 U.S. and Soviet missiles were dismantled. Now, Trump wants to reverse it.

Trump laid the blame on Russia, saying, “They have been violating it for many years.” He made the remarks in reaction to Russia’s deployment of SSC-8 cruise missiles, which can strike all of Europe. Trump condemned China, too. If Russia and China do not reach a new agreement with the United States, America should develop such weapons, he warned. Trump is highly suspicious of China as it could develop its intermediate range missiles without any restrictions. He seems to think that America can’t stand it anymore.

There are growing concerns about the possibility of tension between the United States on the one hand and China and Russia on the other turning into a new Cold War, which will inevitably lead to a costly nuclear arms race. Due to such a surprising development, the world’s security structure will likely head to a dramatic turning point.

That could negatively impact moves to denuclearize North Korea. Any attempt by Uncle Sam to reinforce its nuclear capabilities can serve as an excuse for Pyongyang to reject denuclearization. That would deal a critical blow to the Moon Jae-in administration’s bid to remove the last-remaining legacy of the Cold War on the Korean Peninsula.

In an age of uncertainties, South Korea should take care of its own security. However, a recent military agreement between Seoul and Pyongyang does not even allow our military to conduct shelling drills near the maritime border on the West Sea. As a result, our Navy and Marines are moving their artillery to mountainous areas of the country.

We are deeply worried about this remarkable turn of events. Even when the wind of peace has yet to be felt, how can our armed forces lower their guard? The government must carefully watch the alarming developments among superpowers.

JoongAng Ilbo, Oct. 23, Page 30