&#91LETTERS TO THE EDITOR&#93A better way to address U.S.-Korea issues: Take the high road

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&#91LETTERS TO THE EDITOR&#93A better way to address U.S.-Korea issues: Take the high road

The invective served up in the diatribes of both Kenneth L. Guthrie on Saturday and Hong Woo-won on Tuesday serves to highlight the visceral and irrational responses to what is simply the normal maturation of the U.S.-South Korean relationship.

Such emotional responses are unhelpful to this process.

American government policies and attitudes toward South Korea that were shaped by the Cold War and a politically and economically weak South Korea clearly need to be reassessed.

The South Korea of today is a politically and economically vibrant society.

Koreans are rightfully proud of their accomplishments and have earned the respect of the world, including that of the overwhelming majority of Americans.

As such, it is easy to see how Mr. Guthrie's comments infuriate Mr. Hong.

Those of Mr. Hong's perspective should also understand that the American people are dismayed to see their flag burned, their servicemen beaten and their citizens in Korea shunned.

The death of the two teens was a heartbreakingly tragic accident.

However, the shrill reaction to perceived slights, including the Ohno incident, raised by Mr. Hong and others, undermines the strong and respected position that Koreans expect, strive for and are entitled to.

Rather than enhancing its image, these actions portray an insecurity that is not justified or effective. Taking the high road of nonconfrontational, unemotional dialogue portrays strength and confidence.

In my humble opinion, this is a far more effective approach for South Koreans to take in order to cement their country's rightful place as a respected leading nation of the world.

by Henry R. Mandell
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