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Regarding the March 9 editorial, “An opening — nothing more — with North Korea”: A beautiful baby named “Possibility of Peace” is just now taking its first steps. She has been nourished with food provided by millions of good citizens in South Korea with candles in their hands. But just as she is about to make an attempt at walking, a negative man says, “Watch out, there have been many talks before and none have borne fruit,” as if little Ms. Peace has never accomplished anything.

If that is true, that no talks have born fruit, then how do you explain the Agreed Framework of 1994? After that deal, North Korea froze its Yongbyon nuclear program and stopped building new facilities, bringing us all more security. It also did not launch any missiles for five years until the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Kim dynasty’s government in 1998. Sadly, that caused unnecessary panic in Tokyo, but it turned out to be just a kind of fireworks display where they tried to put a satellite in orbit.

The United States did not keep its promises under the deal. Washington promised to “provide formal assurances to North Korea, against the threat or use of nuclear weapons,” but it threatened North Korea over and over, such as in 1998 when long-range nuclear attack drills on North Korea were simulated from Seymour Johnson Air Base in North Carolina. In 1999 the Clinton administration made some fresh promises and the North agreed to continue to respect the agreement, even when for years Washington had violated it and not made a good faith effort. Negotiations with North Korea have worked in the past. Please do not be a naysayer, get the facts straight and give credit where credit is due, so that peace can confidently move forward and thrive.

JOSEPH ESSERTIER
NAGOYA

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

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