Korean Gov't to Blame for Maehyang

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Korean Gov't to Blame for Maehyang

The recent bombing accident near a small town in the province of Kyonggi by the U.S. Air Force stationed in Korea once again raises eyebrows over the American military presence in this country.

Maehyang is located a stone's throw from a U.S. Air Force training ground on Nong Island, which was first established in 1951. The town is subject to the noise and inconveniences associated with its proximity to the rifle range - an area which covers a whopping 2,640,000 square meters.

In Maehyang, nine were killed and 21 injured in the blast and ensuing ground tremors after a U.S. A10 Bomber jettisoned six bombs in response to an engine failure. Residents are organizing and preparing to bring their case for compensation against the U.S. Air Force to court.

However, this time the finger should be pointed firmly at the Korean government for failing to reach an accord with the U.S. military for their continued co-existence on the peninsula and neglecting to accomodate Korean citizens who live near U.S. bases.

It's undeniable that previous administrations weighed the importance of national security over that of its citizens. Now that times have changed, the government must shift its focus and hold the U.S. accountable for the actions of its military, both in terms of property rights and environmental issues.

There are two possible scenarios that would make this possible: move the base or move the residents. The two sides, the government and the U.S. military, ahould sit down and hammer out a long-term solution that would prevent another Maehyang incident.

by Jo Min-gun

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