[EDITORIALS]No peace drums in NorthOn the eve of President Roh Moo-hyun’s inauguration, North Korea fired a missile to the East Sea (Sea of Japan), and the Joint Chiefs of Staff announced that the military will strengthen psychological warfare against North Korea. The missile incident enhanced people’s awareness of threats from North Korea. It was part of an annual military drill, according to government and Japanese sources. But one wonders if it was proper for the North to set off a missile, as if on purpose, one day ahead of the swearing-in of Mr. Roh, who proclaimed a “peace-prosperity policy” toward North Korea. The North’s behavior reminds us of the military provocation in the Yellow Sea during last June’s World Cup.
The Joint Chiefs’ announcement increases our skepticism of North Korea. They said Pyeongyang has stepped up propaganda against Seoul and the United States, making use of the Internet. The propaganda machine considers the Internet a “special arena where the National Security Law is powerless,” and Internet bulletin boards as “weapons used by anti-Japanese guerrillas.” It has tried to divide national opinion and create social confusion in the South. It has directed its propaganda at our youth in their teens and 20s, spreading anti-Americanism and propounding Kim Jong-il as the “Unification president.” It is shocking that North Korean propaganda is being spread to our youths through our own cyberspace. It is unbelievable that the government lets these activities alone, even after it discovered them. We ask if the government has the will to maintain its integrity.
In March 2000, the Joint Chiefs canceled their monthly reports on the military situation. We note its resumption with the launch of new administration. The report indicates that the military’s view of North Korea is different from the Kim Dae-jung administration’s. As long as the North does not change, our military should tighten its security posture. And the government should block the North’s propaganda and minimize confusion in our society. National security and defense should no longer be subordinated to politics.