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Zero tolerance for N. Korea

April 24, 2009
The Daily Mining Gazette

Last week's temper tantrum by North Korean leaders may not be a bad thing. At least it clears the air and injects a note of honesty into the world's relations with Pyongyang.

United Nations Security Council members voted unanimously on Monday to condemn North Korea's test launch of a medium-range missile. On Tuesday, the North Korean Foreign Ministry reacted harshly.

North Korea will resume production of plutonium needed for nuclear weapons, will not abide by any disarmament agreements, and will "never participate" again in negotiations concerning its armaments programs, the Foreign Ministry announced.

We suspect that many diplomats' first reaction to the verbal blast may have been, "So, what else is new?"

Pyongyang has been playing the rest of the world - including its ally, China - for suckers for several years. It was about six years ago that the so-called "Six-Party Talks" intended to convince North Korean leaders to disband their nuclear weapons program began. The United States, Russia, China, Japan and South Korea had joined together in an attempt to put pressure on North Korea.

Yet North Korean leaders broke virtually every promise made during the talks. In addition, they issued frequent, aggressive threats and dark warnings that if the world community so much as complained about their behavior, it would be considered a declaration of war.

So now, attempts to keep North Korea from becoming a regional security threat are back to the old drawing board.

At least it is a clean slate, not cluttered by the empty pledges North Korea has made in the past. Working with other concerned nations, the United States should craft a new policy - one of zero tolerance for Pyongyang's militarists.



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