An opportunity presents itself

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.