[EDITORIALS]A sea battle cover-up?

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[EDITORIALS]A sea battle cover-up?

"The minister of defense has ordered scrapping a report on possible North Korean military provocations." What kind of ridiculous report is this? It is unbelievable that the highest military authority of a country not only overlooked the report on the dangers of armed provocations, but went even further to order the destruction of such a report. Speaking at a defense committee meeting, the commander of the Korean Army 5679 unit, which is in charge of tapping enemy communications, said that he was under orders to scrap the report when he made a report to then-Defense Minister Kim Dong-shin, 16 days before a naval clash between the South and North in the Yellow Sea.

Apparently, reconciliation and cooperation with the North is one thing and national security is another. If the minister of defense, who is responsible for national security, has ignored the danger of armed provocations from the North because of worries over adverse effects on the sunshine policy, that is a real crisis situation for the safety of this nation.

On June 29, North Korean boats launched an attack against our naval vessels, killing six sailors and wounding 18. The South Korean government and the military leaders, however, kept silent so as not to damage inter-Korean relations. At the funeral of the sailors who died. neither the defense minister nor the chairman of the chiefs of staff were present. The military authorities installed the altar at a deserted place and hushed up details of the funeral to the public. Meanwhile, the military welcomed North Korea's expression of regret over the incident. The North first insisted that the South Korean Navy provoked the attack, but later recognized its reponsibility by using a word like "accidental" to express regret over the loss of lives. Our government was even grateful to the North for giving permission to salvage the submerged vessel and cited the North's gesture of reconciliation.

Now we can understand how such an absurd situation took place. If the minister of defense tried to conceal and distort the situation instead of taking action against military provocations, to whom should we ask to defend the country? The truth must be recorded in the military black book that holds records of military incidents. We want the truth to be disclosed and those responsible to be punished.
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