[EDITORIALS]At the danger level

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[EDITORIALS]At the danger level

A U.S. Army officer was attacked by three Korean young men on the street. Meanwhile, some American soldiers engaged in a fistfight with a Korean taxi driver. Although the two incidents are unrelated matters that broke out abruptly, we are seriously concerned that these two unfortunate incidents took place during such a sensitive time.

The United States Force Korea, taking into account the street attack on the officer, expressed deep regret to Korea and locked down its soldiers for the rest of this week. At some entertainment districts, such as the one around Hongik University, bars are posted with signs saying American GIs are not welcome. After the subway scuffle in September between Korean students and several GIs, American soldiers disappeared from the streets of Itaewon at night. Since the tragic deaths in June of two Korean school girls by the U.S. Army vehicle, our society's anti-American sentiment is approaching a dangerous level.

If the condition is so hostile that GIs cannot step outside bases, that's a serious concern. Because the working conditions in Korea are relatively inferior compared to other countries where U.S. troops are stationed, U.S. servicemen tend to disfavor being stationed here. In the United States, voices are rising that it is time to seriously consider withdrawing troops from Korea. This is unfortunate for both Korea and the United States. That is why five major economic organizations have asked the Korean public to restrain their anti-American protests.

Emotional reactions always work both ways -- anti-American sentiments here are destined to generate anti-Korean sentiments there. Accusing the soldiers involved in the accident last June of murder and insisting the acquittals be voided are unrealistic responses.

It is time to restrain ourselves so that our wishes will not further promote anti-Americanism and the demand that the U.S. forces evacuate the peninsula. South Korea and the United States must come up with measures to prevent future incidents.
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