South Korea’s Tough Stance on North Korea Sparks Tensions
South Korea has expressed hostile sentiments towards North Korea due to the recent launch of North Korea’s medium-range ballistic missile and Kim Jong Un’s recent policy speech. However, the U.S. has repeatedly urged North Korea to come to the negotiating table, insisting that it does not harbor hostile intentions towards North Korea.
At the Trilateral Meeting of the Chief Delegates to the North Korean Nuclear Talks held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Doryeom-dong, Seoul, on the 18th, Jung Pak, the U.S. State Department’s senior official for North Korea, stated during introductory remark, “As we have repeatedly made clear, the U.S. does not harbor any hostile intentions towards North Korea,” and “We are ready to meet North Korea without any preconditions regarding our mutual interests.”
This is consistent with the current U.S. administration’s basic stance since its launch, emphasizing the need for dialogue despite the escalating security crisis on the Korean Peninsula.
Senior Official Jung Pak expressed deep concern over the recent increase in hostile remarks from the North Korean regime towards South Korea, stating, “Such rhetoric unnecessarily escalates tension on the Korean Peninsula.”
On the other hand, while the South Korean government representative expressed a willingness for dialogue with North Korea, they continued to show a hostile attitude throughout their remarks. Kim Geon, the head of the Korean Peninsula Peace Negotiation Bureau, criticized North Korea’s military buildup strategy during his introductory remark, saying, “There was a famous election campaign slogan when I was studying in the U.S. in the 1990s. It was ‘It’s the economy, stupid!’ A military buildup not backed by a strong economy is not sustainable. It’s a shortcut to disaster.”
Director Kim continued, “Kim Jung-un may be relying on illegal military cooperation with Russia, but this will lead North Korea down a dead-end road. It will only reinforce the reputation that North Korea is a blatant violator of international rules and norms, and the world will not tolerate North Korea’s actions that threaten international peace and security.”
Director Kim, who filled most of his introductory remarks with criticism of North Korea, did not propose a diplomatic alternative to resolve the current security crisis on the Korean Peninsula. He did not reveal a blueprint for achieving this goal while demanding dialogue from a counterpart who was not coming to the table.
Japan, while condemning North Korea’s recent actions, reiterated its goal by mentioning the abduction issue. Hirofumi Namazu, the Director-General of the Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau of the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, emphasized the need for a prompt resolution of the issue, stating, “Before I finish my remark, the abduction issue is a humanitarian matter, and it has the time constraints.”