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(EDITORIAL from Korea Herald on April 2)

All News 09:20 April 02, 2016

A united message
: North Korea should heed warning against nukes

The Nuclear Security Summit in New York could not have come at a better time for South Korea, whose utmost security concern is to tackle threats from North Korea's nuclear weapons.

The biennial summit focuses on coping with the threats of nuclear terrorism and strengthening the safety of nuclear materials and facilities. Although the summit does not focus on nonproliferation, it provided a good stage for calling international attention to the North Korean nuclear issue.

Besides, the summit drew all major players in efforts to end the North's nuclear ambitions -- South Korea, the U.S., Japan and China. They held a flurry of bilateral and group talks in which North Korea was a top item on the agenda.

It was meaningful that the leaders could get together to reaffirm their commitment to pressure the North to give up its weapons of mass destruction at a time when the rogue regime is threatening new provocations in defiance of international sanctions against its latest nuclear test and ballistic missile launch.

The leaders' message was clear: North Korea will face even tougher sanctions if it makes another provocation and that the international community will faithfully enforce sanctions imposed by the U.N. and individual countries such as South Korea, the U.S. and Japan.

The leaders of the three allies were unequivocal in their united, firm stance on the North. President Park Geun-hye said after the trilateral meeting that the international community will by no means condone North Korea's provocation, and another provocation will only result in more sanctions and isolation.

The warning was timely as North Korea has recently been threatening to carry out an additional nuclear test and missile launch, and even nuclear attacks on targets in South Korea and the U.S. mainland.

It also was well-timed that Park, U.S. President Barack Obama and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe reaffirmed their commitment to tighten enforcement of the sanctions, which -- as Park noted -- can make the North realize that it cannot survive unless it abandons its nuclear arsenal.

In this regard, Park and Obama tried to persuade Chinese President Xi Jinping to participate in the sanctions faithfully, which seemed successful at least on the surface. After the U.S.-China summit, Obama said that he and Xi are "both committed to the denuclearization" of the Korean Peninsula and Xi said that China and the U.S. have a "responsibility to work together."

Of course, Xi's remarks will not guarantee China's role in making sure the sanctions are enforced without any loopholes.

Speaking after the three-way talks, Obama said the three leaders will direct their teams to take additional collective steps in the coming weeks and months. The steps should include those to increase China's role in dealing with the North Korean threat.

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