&#91EDITORIALS&#93Words piercing credibility

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&#91EDITORIALS&#93Words piercing credibility

The president and his aides are in trouble, and they should think about what they say before they say it. They should be more discriminating and exercise more restraint. President Kim Dae-jung and his top political affairs secretary, Jo Sun-yong, have been displaying some ridiculous logic concerning the cash allegedly sent to North Korea.

Mr. Kim said it is inappropriate to think of dealings with the North within our legal framework because North Korea is an anti-South Korean entity. This may have been his attempt to rationalize his comment that the money sent by Hyundai Merchant Marine Co. to the North should not be the subject to judicial review.

North Korea is surely an anti-South Korean organization but it is an entity we need to engage to complete national unity. There is contradiction in viewing the North as a hostile entity from defense and national security points of view, but contact and exchanges must be conducted within the framework of one historical nation. Mr. Kim has confused this dual nature of our conceptualization of the North by allowing the hostility, in terms of defense and national security, to overlap the partnership in exchanges and cooperation.

Mr. Jo said, "Hyundai would go belly up if every little nitty-gritty detail of the money transfer were exposed." He also said what the call for an independent counsel would do for Hyundai Group is to "kill it." His words imply that Hyundai has been up to such malfeasance that the facts would wipe out any basis of its existence as a business entity. And it is not just Hyundai. The allegations are damaging the credibility of other Korean businesses and also their credit worthiness. Who can have faith in a Korean company's transparency when the allegations suggest that the president can dispose of their assets at his will? The president and his men do not realize the damage they are doing to other firms.

The president and his men ought to realize the outrageous nonsense implied by their words. The solution is simple. They should understand that the only way out of this swamp is to get all the facts out. And they cannot run from this.
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