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Korea: It didn't have to be this way

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Soviet cogitations: 3033
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 29 Nov 2004, 20:06
Party Bureaucrat
Post 30 Oct 2010, 12:29

By Dorothy Ogle
Posted: 10/05/2010 01:00:00 AM MDT

The editorial cartoon in the Sept. 30 Camera depicting the starving North Koreans being weighed down by the ball and chains of the dynasty of dictators reminded me of the suffering North Korean people for whom we all should weep. The ball and chain of dictators is only one of the things that has perpetuated this terrible tragedy. We should add the American and South Korean flags and the ravages of nature as a huge part of the problem.

We have had sanctions on North Korea in place for 60 years. We and South Korea have participated in the military build-up in Korea without seeing any need to respond to North Korea's calls for a peace treaty or their calls for a nuclear free Korea. After all, we were the ones who had the nuclear weapons, for a while on the peninsula, and then, after we removed them from South Korea, they were always at hand for use if we so desired. It was in that atmosphere that the North Koreans began their nuclear program.

In the same issue of the Camera as the above mentioned cartoon, is an article quoting North Korea's Vice Foreign Minister Pak Kil Yon Wednesday at the United Nations. "As long as the U.S. nuclear aircraft carriers sail around the seas of our country, our nuclear deterrent can never be abandoned but should be strengthened further."

For ten years South Korea had two presidents who promoted constructive engagement between north and south. Their philosophy was that cooperation could lift up the North Koreans economically, so that north and south could live in peace and someday be reunified. The cooperation produced amazing economic and security results. And, during the time before President Bush began threatening them with "the axis of evil" rhetoric, international inspectors were in North Korea seeing that nuclear material was not being produced for bombs.

In 2008 President Lee came to power and abandoned most all of the agreements of his predecessors, and all the progress went down the drain. It is clear that President Lee's philosophy is to cause North Korea to collapse, and he is doing all in his power to make it happen.
China, Russia and about a third of the South Korean people do not believe the South Korean official report that blamed North Korea for the March sinking of the Cheonan, a South Korean military ship that was sunk very close to North Korean borders. The Hankyoreh, a South Korean newspaper, laments that we could be blaming North Korea for something they did not do. The Hankyoreh newspaper, along with many others, has called for a reinvestigation by impartial experts.

In addition to worrying about the suffering North Koreans, we should be thinking about world peace. There is no solution to resolving the very dangerous nuclear confrontation in North Korea unless we seriously work for a peace treaty. Presidential candidate Obama promised to negotiate in good faith with the North Koreans. Instead, President Obama has joined President Lee's policy of frightening and squeezing the North Koreans to death.

Dorothy Ogle was a missionary in South Korea (1960-1975) and was the National Council of Churches Legislative Affairs Coordinator for Peace and Reunification of Korea in 1987-1988. She lives in Lafayette.

Read more: Korea: It didn't have to be this way - Boulder Daily Camera
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