The Feature on The North Korean Nuclear Issue
The Feature on The North Korean Nuclear Issue
  • Sung-Hack Kang
  • 승인 2013.04.10 16:26
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How the World Views North Korea Armed with the Nuclear Weapon And What Kind of Posture Should the “Divided” South Korea Take?
 As if it tried to be a faithful student of Sun Tzu who taught that deception was the best military strategy, North Korea has deceived the world entirely by developing and securing the nuclear weapon secretly for the last thirty years or so. Now, after three times of nuclear test, it claims that it is a bona fide nuclear power, and therefore deserves due international status from and to be treated as such, especially by the United States. North Korea introduced the rise of a “second nuclear age” in Asia, thereby endangering international peace and security.
Even China, the mother country of Sun Tzu and the only “Godfather” of a kind for North Korea’s Kims’ totalitarian-military regime, had surprisingly been deceived. At first, China seemed to be somewhat embarrassed, but soon began to defend North Korea’s possession of nuclear weapons in the international society as well as in the United Nations Security Council, because North Korean leaders may be “bastards” who deceived even Chinese “godfather”, but they are definitely “their own bastards” in the world of international politics of the ultimate distinction between friend and foe. This is the main reason why the UN Security Council has not been able to take any effective sanctions against North Korea for its violation of the international regime until now. As long as China (not nuclear weapon) defends North Korea, it would be like the weather, in that everybody talks about it, as Mark Twain said, but nobody does anything about it, including the impotent United Nations which recommends only, it does not decide the enforcement action in accordance with Chapter VII of the UN Charter.
The Chinese have traditionally regarded North Korea (the Korean peninsula before its division) as lips to protect their teeth. Now they regard the nuclear-armed North Korea as Chinese “deadly lips” so that no one dares to attempt to “kiss” them. Since the Japanese have traditionally regarded the Korean peninsula as a dagger aimed at the heart of Japan, the nuclear weapons of North Korea could be regarded an a potential threat  tantamount to a dreadful “tsunami” or another nightmarish “Hiroshima” or “Nagasaki.” But for the islanders, China’s rising naval power deserves more direct concern. The United States regards nuclear-armed North Korea as a “Mida’s hands” of a kind which may shake hands with some militant countries in the Middle East transforming them into the nuclear evils. One of the important problems of the US policy is that it is always too global-strategic, but not local enough. For EU and Russia, North Korea’s nuclear issue is a secondary problem. Only for the South Koreans, it is almost like “the sword of Damocles,” a sword suspended above the head by a single hair. But South Korea can do almost nothing alone. But this nuclear issue has, indeed, given rise to a very grave situation for not only regional but also world peace. Not only North Korea’s insane, revolutionary desire to bluff the US into leaving the Korean soil out of fatigue and at the same time blackmail South Korea to be subservient and ultimately surrender unconditionally to its every wish out of fear by threatening with a new, surreal, existential, absolute weapon but also China’s ill-conceived and almost blind support for North Korea’s sort of “all-in” brinkmanship of nuclear gambling could probably precipitate a tragic unintended consequence of the armed conflicts on the Korean peninsula, which might turn out to be a second Korean War that no one wants except for North Korea’s autocratic leaders. To escape from such looming tragedy, China had been expected to play a role of the mediator between North Korea and other concerned parties, including South Korea. But China was not inclined to be an honest broker. If anything, China has abused North Korea’s nuclear issue simply to enhance its international status as an indispensable great power in the process of international conflicts within the United Nations Security Council and without, paying lip service to the international peace and security.
Is there any way out from such nuclear predicament for us? It was Sir Halford Mackinder who observed at the end of the First World War that “Democracy refuses to think strategically, unless and until compelled to do so for purposes of defense.”  As he lamented, “the Democrat often thinks in principles, ideals, and morality, instead of reckoning strategically, as he or she should, with the realities of geography, economics, space and time. Besides, North Korea’s nuclear issue cannot be solved by South Koreans alone. There seems to be no easy way out of the looming existential threat.” What the South Koreans can do best at the moment is to consolidate and strengthen the “Achilles’ shield” of the Korea-US alliance so as to demonstrate the overwhelming military capability along with the American ally and make clear our resolve and willingness to use it to preempt any threat of impending danger from North Korea. In addition, the right road for the democratic South Korea to take is to produce a “right” leadership at this momentous time so as to seize the moment rather than to muddle through, thereby taking a bold, offensive posture of an “armed” prophet aiming at ultimate “liberation” of North Korean compatriots from the tyranny of the Kims. President Park should declare “national emergency,” eliminate the fifth column, and build up the first-rate military capability including, if possible, nuclear weapons. When a nation faces its existential perils, it is natural that crisis management approach should be adopted.
To save the nation, a “right” leader should, sometimes, be able to play the role of a great “educator” for his or her own people by “waking up” still-sleeping people in such approaching surreal danger, persuade them to resolutely pay the necessary heavy price, and lead them ultimately toward the “Promised Land of Korean national unification.”