&#91EDITORIALS&#93Time to cool 'anti' rhetoric

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[EDITORIALS]Time to cool 'anti' rhetoric

The South Korean government sent a letter of complaint to the Washington Post about a recent opinion column that depicted President Kim Dae-jung's policy platform as anti-American. Seoul also asked for balanced understanding on the anti-U.S. sentiment in South Korea.

We cannot but be concerned about a series of anti-Korean sentiments published by major U.S. media. The half-century alliance between the two countries is shaking, and that means something more important than the changing times. It is time for South Korean and U.S. leaders to take action to prevent anti-American and anti-Korean sentiments from spreading.

Calling the president of a friendly nation anti-American and demanding the pullout of U.S. troops from the peninsula in fear of the North's nuclear threats probably do not accurately reflect U.S. opinions or the government's view. Yet we should not overlook such alarms, which are intended to stop the deterioration of the alliance.

Looking back, the Bush administration's skepticism of the Kim administration's North Korea policy was behind the two countries' conflicts. The government responded lukewarmly to the possibility that the candlelight vigils would evolve into anti-American events. But as Seoul pointed out in its letter to the Post, 76 percent of South Koreans in a recent poll supported the presence of the U.S. military on the peninsula.

It will be difficult to manage the alliance over a longer term if the government simply ascribes the current public sentiment to the impulsive reactions of youngsters and fails to analyze the structural changes of the South Korea-U.S. alliance.

Today, international credit evaluators are asking about the potential economic impacts that North Korea's nuclear ambition and rising anti-American sentiment will bring to the world. We must study our situation to provide a clear and accurate explanation of events. It is important that we build consensus here based on that review.

The South Korean and American leaderships must step forth to straighten out the misguided anti-American and anti-Korean trends.
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