Cooler minds must prevail on Korean Peninsula

Updated: 2013-03-31 11:23


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BEIJING - The Democratic People's Republic of Korea said Saturday that it has entered a "state of war" with Republic of Korea, marking the latest flare-up of tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

Pyongyang's move came after the United States sent B-52 strategic heavy bombers and B-2 stealth bombers to ROK to participate in war games.

For years, the DPRK and the United States, deeply suspicious of each other's intentions, have seen their relations plummet to new lows.

Despite the rhetoric, many believe war is still a distant reality on the Korean Peninsula.

However, the latest tit-for-tat strategies employed by Pyongyang and Washington have definitely raised tensions in a volatile region at China's doorsteps.

It's time for both sides to take a step back and let the cooler minds prevail to avoid any further escalation of the situation.

The chronic crisis on the peninsula was deeply rooted in the fragile relationship between Pyongyang and Washington, which features mistrust, misunderstanding and animosity.

The United States has long adopted a punishment-heavy approach in dealing with ties with the DPRK.

It has imposed rounds after rounds of severe sanctions against Pyongyang and held large-scale military drills regularly in the region.

This approach has only heightened Pyongyang's sense of insecurity and forced it to resort to more extreme actions to defend itself, including breaching United Nations Security Council resolutions to pursue nuclear and long-range missile capabilities.

The latest escalation of tensions has proved that sanctions alone, no matter how strong they might be, are not an effective way to resolve the crisis.

The only practical way to prevent the deteriorating situation from spiraling out of control is to build trust between the relevant parties and to establish the consensus among them that their disputes can only be resolved on the negotiating table.

China, as a strategic stake-holder in the region, has long called for calm on the Korean Peninsula. Now both the DPRK and the United States should tone down their rhetoric and work with Beijing for an early return to the long-stalled six-party talks.

After all, a volatile Korean Peninsula threatens the national interests of all the parties concerned.