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Sunday 20 Aug 2017 | 08:33 | SYDNEY
Sunday 20 Aug 2017 | 08:33 | SYDNEY

North Korea: Smith's handball

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27 May 2010 11:28

Last week, after the South Korean Government released its report into the Cheonan sinking, Malcolm Cook wrote that 'most voices are calling on Seoul to continue to exercise restraint and not 'escalate' the situation (ie. to not respond militarily)'. Foreign Minister Stephen Smith is part of that chorus

Well we are concerned about the potential lack of peace and security on the Korean Peninsula. It is appropriate that all parties exercise restraint...We believe this matter should be attended to by the United Nations and we certainly don't want to see any escalation or serous incidents or any potential for military conflict.

Like Malcolm and Stephen Smith, I see little point (and some significant risks) in ratcheting up military tension.

Still, you've got to wonder what North Korea needs to do before the Foreign Minister is moved to use slightly stronger language and consider more robust action. True, Smith condemned North Korea last week in the wake of the Cheonan report. But Pyongyang has committed an act of war and killed 46 South Korean sailors. Is a call for restraint and a handball to the UN Security Council really the best Australia can do? Thoughts, anyone?

Photo by Flickr user tripletrouble, used under a Creative Commons license.

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