[EDITORIALS]What’s going on in the U.S.?Two North Korean defectors with masked faces testified on human rights in North Korea at a U.S. congressional hearing recently. It turns out that the Korean government was completely ignorant of the purpose of the defectors’ travel to the United States. The incident is clear evidence to support rumors that information exchange between Seoul and Washington is not smooth or efficient.
Smooth exchange of information between the two countries is essential for the security of the Korean Peninsula. It is even more so because we cannot predict in which direction the North Korean nuclear problem will develop, as both Koreas confront each other. In view of the traditional U.S.-South Korea alliance, it is time for a full and close sharing of information and cooperation. This incident shows clearly that there is a big gap in information sharing between the two countries.
It offends against international courtesy that the American government did not request cooperation or notify our side of its plan to invite North Korean defectors under our care to testify at the Senate hearing. The question is why the American government behaved as if it ignores the Korean government. This is what we wonder, and what worries us most. If the United States acted in this way because it could not trust the Korean government, as some here speculate, this is a big problem.
That there is more than baseless anxiety to such speculation is also sensed in the different treatment Washington gave to the leaders of two countries who visited the United States a month apart. Japan’s prime minister was invited to be present at a top-secret briefing by the director of the Central Intelligence Agency, but the Korean president was not.
The government must find out why there is a crack between the two countries. President Roh Moo-hyun made an effort to restore American confidence during his recent U.S. visit. If the structural problem that hinders smooth exchange of information between the United States and South Korea is on our side, the government must solve it. Insufficient information cooperation from the United States will greatly endanger our national security.