+ A

Not the time to be laid-back

Dec 21,2017
U.S. President Donald Trump vowed to push ahead with “toughest-ever sanctions” for “maximum pressure” on North Korea for the ultimate goal of achieving “complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula” while announcing the first national security strategy of his administration. The report paints North Korea as a rogue and ruthless state that starves its own people and yet spends hundreds of millions of dollars on nuclear, chemical and biological weapons that could threaten the United States and the world.
“We remain ready to respond with overwhelming force to North Korean aggression and will improve options to compel denuclearization of the peninsula,“ the document said.

Although the document did not specify a military option, Trump said, “America and its allies will take all necessary steps to achieve denuclearization and ensure that this regime cannot threaten the world,” when he outlined the document in a separate speech. “It will be taken care of. We have no choice,” he said.

The report sets the guideline for the Trump administration’s security policy to defend its homeland. The 68-page document dropped “strategic patience” out of the previous plan from the Obama administration. Obama’s report had three mentions of North Korea. Trump’s has 17, suggesting how Washington perceives the North Korean nuclear and missile threat. The report said China has “expanded its power at the expense of the sovereignty of others” to meet its interests and warned of competition with global revisionist powers — namely China and Russia.

So where does the new security order put us? South Korea is at the center of an intensified power struggle among global powers and the North Korean nuclear and missile threat. Yet the Moon Jae-in administration leisurely talks of peace. It chooses to underestimate the danger of a nuclear-armed North Korea in order to play the best possible host for the upcoming Winter Olympics.

The people have been shamed by the way that Moon kowtowed to China during his presidential visit last week. We cannot expect to weather the perilous climate around the peninsula with such a naïve attitude.

JoongAng Ilbo, Dec. 20, Page 34