[EDITORIALS]A shame on Korea’s record
Robert Kim is finally living at home. Mr. Kim served seven years in prison in the United States on espionage charges after being convicted of passing classified U.S. defense information on a North Korean submarine that had infiltrated South Korean waters in 1996. It is fortunate that Mr. Kim can live in the comfort of his own home, instead of in a prison cell, under house arrest untill his prison term ends on July 27. But we still feel sorry for him because he is not yet entirely free.
The price that he paid for loving his country was huge, yet the country of his love did nothing for him. The moment Robert Kim was arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Korean government turned its back and pretended that he didn’t exist. As the court battle went on and the money that his family had raised by selling their house was exhausted, Robert Kim studied the law by himself in an attempt to reduce his sentence. His wife barely made a living by working at churches run by Korean-Americans. Yet, our government did nothing.
The government can’t excuse itself by saying that it did nothing for Mr. Kim because he was an American citizen. If that is so, was it just a one-sided love affair of Robert Kim, who said that despite going to prison, he did not regret what he had done? His case is very different from that of an American Jew who passed more than 1,000 classified documents to Israel and received a life sentence in prison. The Israeli government is still trying hard to have him released from prison. If a country turns its back on someone who has sacrificed himself for his country, that country has already failed in its sacred duty. No wonder Mr. Kim described himself as a person his fatherland abandoned. The press that failed to support him continuously should be ashamed as well.
For the next three years Mr. Kim will be on probation. As he has declared bankruptcy, he will have difficulty in getting by in his daily life. The government needs to give Mr. Kim support. That his supporters will soon start to raise money is encouraging. The people should chip in to support him. If he wants to spend the rest of his life in Korea, to help him to do so would be a small gesture by the country he loves for the sacrifices he has made.