Distorting Truth for Policy's Sake

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Distorting Truth for Policy's Sake

The ''Sunshine Policy'' does not remove the need for military preparedness. The public should not be confused between the current need for reconciliation and exchanges with the North and the unchanging need for national defense and security. The military, in particular, should be even more vigilant in a time of detente, to provide protection against unexpected situations that might arise.

In this context, we are gravely worried about the way our military responded to the incident that occurred at the Northern Limit Line in the West Sea involving a North Korean patrol boat on Nov. 14. While belatedly admitting that the incident occurred, the Ministry of Defense was still busy trying to gloss it over as "an accidental and insignificant wandering" and to explain away its initial failure to acknowledge the incident as "a simple misjudgement by an officer." It does not seem, however, that the ministry had any intention to double check the misjudgement, had the point not been raised in the National Assembly. We wonder how a violation of the sea border between North and South can be seen as an insignificant incident. Was it also an insignificant incident that sparked the naval battle in the West Sea last year?

Incursions of this sort are clear violations of the Truce Agreement, and the Military Arbitration Committee, the U.S.-Korea Combined Forces Command, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff should be notified immediately. The explanation of the ministry still betrays a serious problem with the command system. The ministry has invited the suspicion that it deliberately tried to sweep the matter under the carpet by hastening to announce that "there had been no transgression by either party" after a North Korean broadcast made the accusation that "South Korean warships had invaded the waters of North Korea." We take exception with the ministry''s use of terms like "accidental," "occasional,'' or "insignificant" to describe threats to our national security. North Korea will continue to provoke us regarding the maritime border. It is necessary that the military inform the government and the government inform the people to insure that an accurate view of the North is not distorted to suit policy objectives.

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