This revelation created national anxiety as no one could pinpoint why North Korea admitted to having an uranium program or how the U.S. would react to the matter, especially on the brink of a potential war between the U.S. and Iraq. The international media reminded the world that Seoul was only about 30 miles from the demilitarized zone and was within rage of Pyongyang"s artillery, emphasizing that the Korean peninsula is indeed that ?he most dangerous place on Earth.
However, the pressure of the moment passed as South Korea, Japan, China, and the U.S. endorsed more peaceful course of action in response. During the three-way summit with the U.S. and Japan in Mexico, President Kim Dae-jung made clear Seoul? intention to resolve problems with the North through dialogue. President Kim also urged the U.S. not to impose any kinds of economic sanctions against the North nor put an end to supplying Pyongyang with 500,000 tons of fuel oil as planned which could serve to trigger a nuclear war crisis.
The National Intelligence Service announced that North Korea may own as much as three crude nuclear weapons. The government must realize that the North is too big a threat to simply coax and fondle. South Korea"s policy toward the North may switch from the Kim Dae-jung Administration "Sun-shine Policy" after presidential elections in December.
Nevertheless, the current situation points out that South Korea and Japan cannot go very far in their own relations with North Korea without U.S. backup. And the U.S. should understand that the diplomatic support of South Korea and Japan is vital for its ?"tit-for-tat" tactic against North Korea. Meanwhile China may have to play the role of the key interculator.
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