[EDITORIALS]Running against AmericaAnti-American sentiment stimulated by the death of two girl students is becoming a political variable in the presidential election. Anti-Americanism, symbolized by candlelight demonstrations, is no longer the province of radical activists but is spreading as a national issue that could influence voters in the presidential election. The candidates are trying to gain votes by boasting, "I can make big talk to the Americans." It is contrary to past elections in which the candidate's intimacy with American leadership was reckoned as his merit. It is queer to see presidential candidates try to distance themselves from the United States, especially in view of the U.S.-Korea alliance that lasted over 50 years.
It might be natural for the candidates to try to stay in the middle of the shifting current of public opinion. But there is a report that a candidate will participate in a candlelight demonstration. Another is planning to meet representatives of the "National Committee to Deal With the Murder of the Girl Students." In the candidates' moves, we see no effort to find a clue to cure people of anti-American sentiment. We see only the intent to garner more votes by riding Anti-Americanism. They are deaf even to the cries of "American forces out of Korea," and "Yankee go home."
The tragic incident should be made an occasion for promoting the U.S.-Korea relations to a new dimension. The presidential runners should approach the issue from the position of state affairs. They should avoid taking emotional positions blaming Ame-rican self-righteousness and arrogance. What role do the American forces play for the security and economic stability of Korea? What is the right way for us to deal with the world's superpower? The candidates should present their views with the national interest in mind. Against the current of anti-U.S. sentiment they should inject constructive alternatives. We can no longer rely on the Kim Dae-jung administration, which failed to provide effective measures to deter the spread of anti-U.S. sentiment. Boosting anti-Americanism should not be a campaign tactic for gaining votes. To turn emotion-fed anti-Americanism into a partnership with America, the candidates should meet President Kim and work out an alternative.