[EDITORIALS]Protective Words Disappointing

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[EDITORIALS]Protective Words Disappointing

The reasoning and attitude toward the North expressed by the president and the ruling party leadership are extremely disappointing. Particularly so was the way they protected our military's actions, which had passively responded to the intrusions by North Korea vessels into our Northern Limit Line and Cheju Strait. The words "firing equals economic collapse" used by Lee Hai-chan, chief policymaker of the Millennium Democratic Party - in an attempt to rationalize and protect the government's position that passively confronted the intrusions by North Korean vessels into our waters - was especially convoluted.

In response to the opposition party's criticism that the military did not actively confront the intrusion on Saturday, Mr. Lee said, "If we fire on North Korean vessels that intrude into our waters, words of a Korean War crisis would spread, leading to a stock market collapse and foreign capital flight."

First of all, he misunderstood the crux of the question. The opposition party and most of the people are finding problematic the lack of clarity in the government's will to protect our waters - as manifested in the communication between our war vessel and the North Korean cargo ship.

The ruling party, including Mr. Lee, is wrongly assuming that the criticism means a demand to fire at the intruders and warning of a possible war. "Firing equals economic collapse" or "firing equals war" are based on false reasoning. If they were true, we would like to ask whether fighting in the Yellow Sea two years ago led to a Korean war or whether foreign investment slipped away because of rumors of another Korean war.

What reasoning shall we resort to in understanding the firing on our ship by an armed North Korean vessel?

The president's questioning the consequences of firing unto an unarmed commercial vessel or the defense minister claiming that a military confrontation could possibly develop by firing at a vessel without knowledge of who is on board, not only contradict each other but manifest a mistaken understanding of the right to self-defense.
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