I was somewhat disturbed by the Nov. 24 front-page headline “Pyongyang shells South Korean island.” I am as cautious about North Korea as anyone, but in times of crisis, we need to remain calm. It was not known that “Pyongyang” rather than some North Korean field officer actually ordered the shelling.
Americans are now hopelessly divided against themselves; Kim Jong Il and the North Korean military know that, as do the Chinese “communists” — or whatever they are called now. North Korea is going through a transition crisis; Western countries know that, and all sides know that other sides know, ad infinitum. This may be a factor in the recent shelling. The point is that everyone remain calm.
The Chinese Communist Party could help diffuse this danger, but so far, they have shown no sign of doing so. Chinese leaders do not seem to understand the danger that faces all of us who live in Northeast Asia. Chinese leaders are the only ones who can influence North Korea. It is their duty to help restore peace. China has much to contribute to the world. Everyone loves Chinese literature, culture and music. Chinese leaders have a grave responsibility to put aside hatred of the past and to bring peace to Northeast Asia.
Meanwhile, I commend Prime Minister Naoto Kan for his firm yet calm reaction to the recent crisis with China over territorial disputes. I have admired him since the beginning of his political career. He is truly a gentleman and a man of wisdom and courage. I only wish there were more politicians like him in the United States and in China.