[EDITORIALS]Welcome, Mr. RohRoh Moo-hyun takes office as Korea’s president today. After the inauguration, some thorny problems await mr. Roh.
Dealing with North Korea’s nuclear aspirations and rebalancing the South Korea-U.S. alliance are immediate issues directly connected to our destiny.
In the political arena, the new president should break down the regionalism-dominated political factions and eradicate corruption. Mr. Roh should also decentralize political power.
The economy demands more transparent management in business, sustainable growth and balanced distribution of wealth.
The Roh administration is also expected to mend the ruptures between different regions, generations and ideological groups. All these tasks should be weighed and sorted out; President Roh should prudently and seriously lead an era of change and reform.
Following the Syungman Rhee government’s founding stage, the Park Chung Hee, Chun Doo Hwan and Roh Tae-woo administrations’ authoritative industrialization era and the Kim Young-sam and Kim Dae-jung governments’ democratization efforts, the Roh administration begins with a summons to establish and explore Korea’s destiny in the 21st century. The Roh government is responsible for leading in a turning point of our time. The new government should correct the mistakes of the past governments and build a new framework for our country.
To clean up deep-rooted evils and to build a new foundation for a country, the new government should have principles. The Roh administration should approach its national agenda by taking account of the long continuity of our system and meeting global standards at the same time.
Past wrongdoings must be resolved properly. Reform in the right direction must be pushed through. To this end, the Roh administration should employ methods that the people can agreed with and support.
Reform has a higher probability of succeeding when the people participate. In order to induce such participation, the president and his aides must thrust away the temptation of absolute power. Imperative orders and commands will not bring changes and reform to us.
The past Kim administrations were drunken with their sense of ethical superiority and pushed their reform plans forcibly. Such actions produced strong oppostion and disagreements. The new government should learn a lesson and must not repeat such mistakes.
Today is not an era of revolution. The new president has a single five-year term. Mr. Roh should not be blinded with the arrogance that he can do everything in that short a period, like a raging wind. The Kim Dae-jung administration’s goals were not met because of those inordinate ambitions.
Instead of developing vanity, the Roh government must have an honest and humble attitude to bring a better inner substance to our country. Fortunately, Mr. Roh has already promised to decentralize administrative and political power and has made clear his willingness to achieve bipartisan and participatory reform. His intentions should be maintained from the begining until the end of his government.
Mr. Roh is also facing a predicament ― unifying the people and consolidating Korea’s ties with other countries.
North Korea’s nuclear issues and the intertwined Seoul-Washington relations are the issues that can only be resolved by unifying the people’s wisdom and support. Because a worsened South Korea-U.S. alliance would shake the roots of our national security, the Roh government must restrain from unnecessarily irritating Washington.
Regionalism and generational confrontations are also issues. Most of all, the ideological conflicts generated by the rise of a new generation is what Mr. Roh should work on as his top priority.
The people should cooperate and support our new president, who is facing many difficult tasks. Yet what is the most important is Mr. Roh and his administration’s conviction to present the right directions for his reforms and change and to move ahead gradually based on national support. That is how to realize the new government’s slogan of “participatory government.”