[EDITORIALS]Resignation puzzles us allIt is not proper that Kim Young-jin, agriculture minister, tendered his resignation to protest the court’s decision to suspend the Saemangeum tidelands reclamation project. In a democratic country, where the separation of the executive, legislative and judicial branches of government is guaranteed, a minister’s open criticism of the judiciary can create problems. Mr. Kim has gone even further to the extreme by offering a letter of resignation. As a high-ranking official, his behavior is irresponsible. Without a hidden motive, his behavior is incomprehensible.
As the head of a government branch that is affected by court decisions, he is allowed complaints. But as a cabinet minister he cannot criticize the judiciary in a challenging way, saying, “The court made the wrong decision by suspending a major national project, depending only on the assertions of environmentalists.” An appeal to a higher court can be made. Before deciding to resign, Mr. Kim should have done his best to have his position reflected in the appeal.
The court pointed out that the ministry did not ask for a single witness to speak on its behalf nor did it present a detailed water quality improvement plan, during the court proceedings. When he tendered his resignation, therefore, Mr. Kim should have said, “I feel sorry for the people and the president because I did not do my best to prevent such a decision.” If he was determined to resign, why did he not present the necessary material before the court? This is why people suspect Mr. Kim resigned to evade responsibility and as a political gesture to gain popularity in the region aiming for an Assembly seat in the election in April next year.
The judge who made the court ruling said, “I am not an environmentalist.” Likewise, the agriculture minister is not a farm movement activist. If the agriculture minister must resign because the Saemangeum reclamation project is suspended, the environment minister must resign if the project continues. And this would create a strange atmosphere in the community of civil servants.
If Mr. Kim’s mindset as a public servant is such, we think it better that he is replaced.