DAVID QUARRIE asks what is the cause of current spate of disputes between nations, which I take to include that between North Korea and the United States (Letters, September 8).

I imagine that for the many in this country who are convinced of the special democratic merit of referendums, the self-evident cause is the failure of the rulers of the Republic of North Korea to hold a referendum of their citizens with the simple question: “Should the United Nations be allowed to interfere in the national defence and security policy of North Korea? Yes or no.”

Or the failure of the US government to hold a referendum with the question: “Should the US as a signatory of the UN Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty insist in the light of the North Korean nuclear test that the UN take steps to ensure that South Korea and Japan are prevented from obtaining nuclear weapons? Yes or no.”

Clearly the policies of both countries suggest that without referendums, they have absolutely no idea where their citizens stand on these simple questions.

Maurice Vassie, Deighton, York