Commentary:Applause for North Korea's restraint

08:56, December 22, 2010      

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North Korea's reaction to the South's military drill Monday let the world see its calmness and restraint. The North's international image is being quietly altered, whereas the South is labeled by some observers as threatening the status quo.

There are also voices deriding North Korea's timidity in the face of the South's hard-line stance. North Korea should not heed them. No matter what motive it had, North Korea didn't retaliate Monday, which preserved the fragile peace on the peninsula.

Consequently, North Korea deserves the applause of the region for its diplomatic response. Those who laugh at North Korea's "cowardice" are actually onlookers seeking to extract their own interests from the chaos on the peninsula.

Before Monday's military drill, South Korea had also been restrained. It had tried to cast North Korea in the role of agent provocateur. However, this has not been the case at least in the past couple of days. Has South Korea itself slipped into that role? This question should be mulled over thoughtfully by its authorities.

The sad weight of history has cast its pall on the peninsula so that the desire to leave past grievances behind and look to the future is quenched.

South Korea chose to lash out in profound strategic anxiety, and gained only a temporary feeling of accomplishment. However, it still does not know how to enhance the flexibility of its diplomatic policy and solve the current dilemma. Yet a solution must be found sooner or later.

Like a pile of unfinished homework, the peninsula issue has piled up for six decades. South Korea, Japan and the US are continuing to add to the teetering tower, hoping that one day North Korea's collapse will eliminate all this work in one swoop.

This mentality was laid at the feet of Wall Street businessmen as the reason for the financial crisis, as they piled up bad debts.

There is no shortcut to perpetual peace on the Korean Peninsula. In order to solve the issue, many things need to be done to enhance North Korea's sense of security, including promoting the compatibility between its regime and the surrounding environment and narrowing its economic gap with neighbors.

All of Northeast Asia should act in political sincerity and economic generosity to help create workable conditions for North Korea to open up.

So far, the Six-Party Talks remain the best platform for dialogue. The two Koreas, as each other's stakeholder, should return to the table in an act of courage. They should consider their opposing standpoints, and look for a resolution side by side. In that way, both Koreas can win the world's applause.

Source:Global Times
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