[EDITORIALS]China tarnishes its image

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[EDITORIALS]China tarnishes its image

Chinese sophistry and unreasonable demands have gone beyond what is acceptable in the incident in which Chinese security agents intruded into the consular section of the Korean Embassy in Beijing, where they used physical violence against Korean diplomats and snatched away a North Korean defector.

The Chinese government, which has postponed an official answer to Korean inquiries, has told some foreign media that, in the words of its Foreign Ministry spokesman, "the South Korean side has committed the mistakes."

On Monday, it went even further, claiming through its ambassador in Seoul, Li Bin, that "[the Chinese] might demand that the Korean side place responsibility on the Korean diplomats involved in the incident."

We cannot but be disappointed at the absurd behavior of the Chinese. We have seen the truth about China, which criticizes the United States for its diplomatic hegemonism and pledges to be a responsible member of the international community. It was inappropriate that Ambassador Li, who should represent China's national interest and promote friendship between our two nations on the basis of a deep understanding of the host country's culture and national sentiment, used such sophistry with the Korean press. It will only harm those in both countries who wish for a forward-looking relationship.

The incident this time was an indiscriminate violation of international law in which Chinese officials entered a foreign mission endowed with extraterritorial rights. The violation was witnessed by numerous passers-by and members of the press and recorded on video tape.

The Chinese should realize that the argument they have made and their unreasonable claims will damage their international image as a responsible world leader. This might be painful for them to do, but the Chinese should apologize to South Korea, free the North Korean defector to go to South Korea and make those responsible for this incident accountable.

The sooner the Chinese take these measures, the stronger relations between South Korea and China will grow. The longer China drags its feet, the worse its international image becomes.
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