[EDITORIALS]U.S. housing strikes homeThe U.S. Embassy is planning to build an eight-story apartment of 54 units in its official residential area near Deoksu Palace in Jeongdong. The Housing Construction Promotion Act says that a parking lot, a playground and some other facilities on a certain scale should be built as well when constructing an apartment of more than 20 units. There are some other regulations on the size of each unit, too. As a result the Ministry of Construction and Transportation announced that it is trying to revise the enforcement regulation of the act by installing an exception since the units are for diplomats. We do not need to take issue with a revision of the regulation. Many people have cited the irrationality of applying the act indiscriminately even to noncommercial buildings, such as a lodging facility for employees.
According to the Seoul Metropolitan Government, the U.S. residential area in question belongs to the category for general residence. Legally, the U.S. Embassy is permitted to build an eight-story apartment on that location. Asking the government why they designated the area for general residences even though it is close to many historical relics and royal palaces is acceptable. The government changed the purpose of the land where the Canadian Embassy is to be built. It also changed the guidelines to accommodate the construction of the Russian Embassy. So this matter cannot be seen only through emotional eyes.
But the government should be very careful in its efforts to change the decree to do a favor for the U.S. Embassy. The public mood has not been favorable to the United States since the announcement of plans for new housing within the U.S. Army's Yongsan compound, and the selection of a U.S. contractor, unfairly some say, to build the next generation fighter planes for the Korean military. If the government is reckless in dealing with this matter, the result will be unnecessary anti-Americanism.
Considering the special characteristics of the relationship between South Korea and the United States, the government should actively cooperate with the United States where it can. But the United States should also be very considerate for the sake of the mature development of the relationship between the two countries.