An op­por­tu­nity pre­sents it­self

The Maui News - - OPINION -

When we were young, a very scary novel ti­tled “On The Beach” de­scribed a post-nu­clear war world where sur­vivors await the even­tual fall­out that will kill them.

Writ­ten by Nevil Shute and set in Aus­tralia, the book de­tails how a nu­clear at­tack by one small na­tion sets off a se­ries of mis­cal­cu­la­tions that will re­sult in the elim­i­na­tion of all an­i­mal life on Earth. In the book, all life has al­ready been wiped out in the North­ern Hemi­sphere and the ra­di­a­tion clouds are slowly, in­ex­orably mak­ing their way south.

An equally scary — and very sad — movie was made from the book star­ring Gre­gory Peck. The theme mu­sic for the movie was the old Aus­tralian bal­lad “Waltz­ing Matilda.” Played slowly in the back­ground of most of the scenes in the movie, it painted the over­whelm­ing sad­ness.

Ev­ery test of mis­siles and bombs by North Korea brings up memories from “On The Beach” in our mind. As this is writ­ten, Kim Jung Un is threat­en­ing to can­cel his June 12 sum­mit meet­ing with Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump be­cause of joint mil­i­tary ex­er­cises the U.S. is con­duct­ing with South Korea.

While the North Korean leader’s threat to boy­cott the sum­mit may be merely a ploy, all in­ter­ested par­ties — the U.S., South Korea, Japan, China, etc. — should keep max­i­mum pres­sure on him to at­tend. The de­nu­cle­ariza­tion of the Korean Penin­sula should be a shared goal of ev­ery na­tion on Earth.

Kim Jung Un’s peo­ple are starv­ing. We can feed them. In con­junc­tion with other na­tions, we can offer se­cu­rity to the North as it uses the re­sources now spent on its nu­clear pro­gram to mod­ern­ize the coun­try and strengthen its econ­omy.

There is an op­por­tu­nity now to solve a prob­lem that has been fes­ter­ing for al­most 70 years. Let’s do every­thing in our power to make sure it is not squan­dered.

(Por­tions of this ed­i­to­rial have ap­peared pre­vi­ously in The Maui News.)

Ed­i­to­ri­als re­flect the opin­ion of the pub­lisher.

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