Towards secure and safer Korean Peninsula By Tunde Garba Ladan


The latest move by both North and South Korea to present joint athletes for the Pyeongchang Olympics is a cheering development and a sign of peace that must be sustained.
This is especially so as the North Korean President Kim Jong Un had in his 2018 New Year address called for dialogue between his country and South Korea.
This offer to talk proposed by North Korean leader was considered by observers and analysts of the Korean crisis as a New Year gift to citizens of both countries who have lived with the fear of possible war in the Korean Peninsula for several months.
Last year in Germany, President Moon Jae-in of South Korea made proposals for peace at the Summit of the World Leaders but President Kim Jong Un ignored the call for talks and continued with launching of missiles. North Korea also embarked on the development of weapons programme.
North Korea had launched series of missiles, threatening South Korea, Japan and Guam, among other countries under the United Nations (UN) imposed sanctions. The sanctions were to force North Korea to drop the development of weapons programme but the country went ahead to test fire Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBM) and later detonated small hydrogen bomb that shook Chinese and Russian territories to the amazement of the world, particularly, United States of America.
Presently, Kim Jong Un has ordered mass production of nuclear war-heads and warned the United States that North Korea’s nuclear forces are real and not mere empty threats. President Kim also warned that America’s mainland areas could be hit by missiles. Apart from seeking recognition of North Korea as a nuclear nation, President Kim warned that he has ‘nuclear button’ on his office table.
However, in the Korean Peninsula, both the leaders in North and South Korean countries have made positive moves to ensure peace in the region. They should go beyond that to begin talks or discussions immediately without delay that the safety and security of the Korean Peninsula would not be compromised even after the Olympics. Whatever forms this would take should be aimed at achieving a lasting peace and free the two countries from crisis and conflict.
North Korea on its part must stop bullying, harassing and intimidating South Korea and other countries with its weapons of mass destruction and re-channel her energy working towards true reconciliation and unification of the two sister countries to promote the wellbeing of the citizens of the two countries.
Korean youths from the two countries should be encouraged to embrace peace through the exemplary conduct of their leaders and should be encouraged to love and not war in which they could lose their lives and properties.
The United Nations and World Leaders should support the two countries in the latest move to positive dialogue. It is expected that re-opening of the existing line of border communication channel would also be sustained.
This would be in line with the thought-line of Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari, last year at the United Nations General Assembly, where he called for urgent UN engagement with President Kim Jong Un, to resolve the Korean crisis. Koreans must witness peace this year. The time for dialogue is now.

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Ladan writes from Kaduna.

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