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Calm after DPRK's test

China Daily | Updated: 2013-02-22 07:15

The repercussions following the recent nuclear test conducted by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea reverberate stubbornly in Northeast Asia and the world at large, and the world is counting on the parties concerned to show the political wisdom necessary to de-escalate the tensions in the region.

Overreacting will only plunge the situation deeper into the vicious cycle of tit-for-tat actions and paint an even gloomier picture for the peaceful denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

That Pyongyang conducted its third underground nuclear test on Feb 12, in disregard of the deep concerns voiced by the international community beforehand, was naturally taken as being in open defiance of the majority of countries, which are firmly opposed to Pyongyang's decision to embrace a nuclear program.

The fact that Pyongyang has gone its own way with its nuclear program despite United Nations resolutions is regrettable. It is, then, highly necessary for the world community to continue efforts so that the DPRK will not slip along the wrong direction.

Pyongyang should refrain from making such provocative moves again, as a worsening external environment would make it even more isolated.

However, overreacting and resorting to tit-for-tat retaliations or sanctions, as shown by past experience, will only escalate tensions on the Peninsula further and add to the difficulties of diplomatic mediations that aim to resolve the issue through negotiations and dialogue.

The United States, the Republic of Korea and Japan, which form Pyongyang's rival camp, have reacted strongly to the nuclear test. Apart from mulling unilateral sanctions against the DPRK, the US and the ROK announced on Thursday that they are planning to stage joint military drills next month.

Some in Japan and the ROK have also suggested that their countries should have nuclear weapons. Such drastic responses are anything but constructive, and they only worsen the region's security outlook.

Pyongyang's undesirable behavior has a lot to do with the hostility it feels toward it and its sense of insecurity. Years of confrontation with the ROK, Japan and the US have fueled Pyongyang's belief in strengthening its own military power.

The latest nuclear test could be interpreted as the attempt of a desperate DPRK to keep the threat at bay. It is high time all parties concerned thought and acted rationally to address the root cause of the DPRK nuclear issue and prevent a disastrous fallout.

(China Daily 02/22/2013 page8)

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