Go to Contents Go to Navigation

(EDITORIAL from Korea Times on June 25)

Editorials from Korean dailies 07:02 June 25, 2020

Signs of de-escalation
North suspends military action plan against South

North Korea has shown signs of defusing tensions with South Korea by suspending its military action plan against Seoul. On Tuesday, its leader Kim Jong-un decided to hold off on the plan during a preliminary meeting of the Central Military Commission of the ruling Workers' Party of Korea.

The decision is surprising given that no one in the South expected the North to back down on its military threats so soon after demolishing the inter-Korean liaison office in the border town of Gaeseong, June 16. Pyongyang had vowed to make good on the threats by redeploying its troops to the joint industrial park in the town, the Mount Geumgang tourism resort, and the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ).

The North took its first de-escalation step Wednesday when its military removed propaganda loudspeakers along the DMZ which bisects the two Koreas. The removal came four days after their reinstallation which raised concerns about escalating tensions and an accidental military clash.

Kim Yo-jong, the sister of Kim Jong-un, has led the charge against the South since she lambasted the Moon Jae-in administration June 4 for failing to bar North Korean defectors from sending anti-Pyongyang leaflets across the border. She and other officials in the North had flatly rejected the South's request to stop ratcheting up tensions further. Pyongyang even threatened to distribute anti-Seoul propaganda leaflets to the South in retaliation.

It is unclear what has made the North put its military action plan on hold. But pundits speculate that Kim Jong-un has put the brakes on the harsh rhetoric and military threats against the South in order not to see further escalation. If that is the case, it could be seen as an indication that Kim does not want to see the two Koreas heading toward hostility and confrontation after a brief period of detente with Seoul and Washington.

Kim had better realize that no one in South Korea, the United States or any other countries around the world wants the North to return to its outdated brinkmanship tactics and a Cold War confrontation on the peninsula. He should stop the North's military from taking any provocative actions against the South.

The nation marks the 70th anniversary of the 1950-53 Korean War tomorrow. The great lesson of the internecine conflict is how important peace is. If they really want to learn this valuable lesson, the two Koreas should end their hostility and move toward reconciliation and peace.

In this regard, we urge Pyongyang not to turn the clock back. The Kim regime must return to dialogue with Seoul and Washington. Most of all, the North should start working-level talks with the U.S. to resume its denuclearization. Equality important is to restore mutual trust, a key element in peace-making in the world's last Cold War frontier. At the very least there should be no tragic war again on the peninsula.

Send Feedback
How can we improve?
Thanks for your feedback!