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(EDITORIAL from Korea JoongAng Daily on April 2)

All Headlines 09:21 April 02, 2016

Time to use the stick

Few would disagree that we must be firm with North Korea and teach the intransigent state a lesson. The stick should be used. Otherwise, the party on the other end will only be more provoked. Pyongyang became spoiled because it had been spared the stick repeatedly in the past.

South Korean President Park Geun-hye, in Washington for the Nuclear Security Summit, reaffirmed the joint stance against Pyongyang through bilateral and tripartite meetings with her U.S. and Japanese counterparts, Barack Obama and Shinzo Abe.

The three states mounted joint pressure following the recent United Nations resolution comprising the toughest-ever sanctions on Pyongyang, designed to cut off funding for nuclear and ballistic missile programs in response to North Korea's fourth nuclear test in January and subsequent long-range missile launch, and strongly warned against another provocation.

The three leaders agree on the need to push North Korea to the point that it voluntarily and inevitably would have to change its policy on the nuclear and military fronts. The three parties also agreed to strengthen the three-way security alliance. The alliance Washington has been seeking as a kind of means to contain rising Chinese influence has gained momentum following the Korea-Japan settlement on the comfort women issue and North Korea's series of military provocations.

A closer alliance is necessary to tame Pyongyang, but should be subtly moderated so as not to annoy Beijing too much. The new sanctions on North Korea would only be effective with China's cooperation. Beijing officially pledged to fully abide by the resolution.

Chinese President Xi Jinping in his meeting with Korean and U.S. counterparts vowed to carry out the resolution "in full and entirely."

But what matters is action, not words. While joining the chorus on the implementation of the UN resolution, Xi reiterated that dialogue through a six-party platform to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula instead of sanctions would be the right solution to the North Korean nuclear issue.

He also made it clear that China opposed deployment of the U.S.-led Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (Thaad) antimissile system in South Korea. Seoul will have to be careful in using the Thaad card to draw Beijing to exercise more influence over Pyongyang.
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