[EDITORIALS]Time to heal, not goadU.S. Ambassador Thomas Hubbard said Tuesday that he could understand the feeling of Lt. Gen. Charles C. Campbell, commanding general of the U.S. 8th Army, who spoke in tears when he told the American media about anti-American candlelight demonstrations and the burning of the U.S. flag. General Campbell appeared on "60 Minutes," a CBS network news program. After the program was broadcast, public opinion became heated in the United States about the necessity to station U.S. troops in a country where they tear up the U.S. flag and chant, "Yankee, go home!"
The news program, and the American ambassador's reaction to it, remind us of the looming rupture in Korea-U.S. relations.
The Republic of Korea and the United States have maintained a blood-tied alliance for over 50 years. Both sides have greater expectations of each other than they have from any other allies. Therefore, the disappointment one side feels about the other can be deeper as well when things go wrong. In order to mend the wounds, dialogue and understanding are most important. It has been pointed out by many people since last year that both countries should overcome their differences in perceptions about the other. We believe that 50 years of alliance will provide us a common ground on which we can build mutual confidence.
It is time for both countries to try to heal wounds, not a time to shine light on the ruptures. President-elect Roh Moo-hyun must refrain from making comments about the differences between the two countries. As president, he must show a positive attitude of trying to resolve conflict rather than emphasizing disagreements.
This also applies to the U.S. government. Comments about disagreements between the two sides will do neither of us any good. At present, the impression is that both sides are trying to widen the gap rather than narrow it. The U.S.-Korea alliance cannot be damaged by just one generation. In view of the historic significance of the U.S.-Korea alliance, it is time for us to look for the wisdom to heal the rupture.