Excerpts from recent editorials in newspapers in the United States and abroad:
Orangeburg, S.C., April 8, The Times and Democrat on North Korea’s saber-rattling:
Another week and more tough talk from North Korea is likely.
This past week, the North Korean army warned the U.S. government that its military has been cleared to wage an attack using “smaller, lighter and diversified nuclear” weapons.
The threat from the unnamed army spokesman is one in a series of escalating warnings from North Korea, which has railed for weeks against joint U.S. and South Korean military exercises in South Korea and has expressed anger over tightened sanctions for a February nuclear test.
It’s difficult to know just serious to take the North Koreans. Their constant bashing of the United States has been going on for years. But with its new leader in place and uncertainty about how he and the military interact, there is the possibility that North Korea could attempt a nuclear attack on South Korea, Japan or even the United States. ...
And the bottom line: Pentagon spokesman George Little offers sensibly, “Our desire is peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula. The North Koreans have two choices. They can choose the path of peace or they can choose the path of provocation. One is better than the other for everyone involved, including the North Korean military and the North Korean people.”
Beijing, April 9, China Daily on efforts to limit the spread of a new strain of bird flu:
The continuous rise in the number of people infected with the new strain of bird flu means the authorities must be relentless in their efforts to fight the virus and a nationwide information network needs to be established to prevent it spreading.
The three new cases that were confirmed on Monday mean the number of people infected with the H7N9 virus has risen to 24 since the first case was reported in Shanghai on March 31. Seven of them have died.
The H7N9 strain is a form of avian flu not previously found in humans and given there are still uncertainties surrounding the virus, such as its exact origin and transmission channels, the growing number of human infections is causing increasing concern.
Whether the outbreak can be swiftly and effectively curbed is a severe test of the government’s ability to handle public health emergencies.
After the outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome in China in the spring of 2003, which resulted in the deaths of about 800 people worldwide, the Chinese health authorities were accused of initially trying to cover up the disease.
Encouragingly, the authorities seem to have learned the necessary lessons from the SARS outbreak and they have adopted a nonevasive and transparent attitude toward the H7N9 infections from the very beginning. They have shared information and cooperated closely with the World Health Organization.
That there is no evidence of human-to-human transmission means that it should be possible to contain the H7N9 virus if effective measures are taken to prevent contact between infected birds and humans.