[EDITORIALS]Roh fails to address issuesPresident Roh Moo-hyun's address to the nation to celebrate National Independence Day fell short of our expectations. He should have provided a new blueprint for his governance with reflection on the past six months’ chaos. But Mr. Roh only reiterated the slogans of self-defense and the goal of achieving per capita income of $20,000. He failed to reflect on reality.
The economic vision in his speech was not convincing, considering the serious conditions we face. Mr. Roh presented a goal of raising per capita income to $20,000 within 10 years, but his speech lacked a plan to achieve that target. He should have given the nation his evaluation of the worsening economic conditions, and then offered some feasible methods and firm resolve to deal with the situation. His address should especially have dealt with labor issues, which are currently hindering the economy.
Mr. Roh’s slogan of self-defense also was untimely because it could easily prompt misunderstanding by neighboring countries amid the North Korean nuclear crisis. No one will argue that a country must have the ability to independently defend itself. But we will have to face a possible security crisis as well as enormous financial burdens in setting the defense budgets to achieve such a goal. It also is not easy to say what the goal of self-defense would be in a country like South Korea that is surrounded by major powers.
It is difficult to pay for the increasing defense budgets incurred by the realignment of U.S. troops here. We can steadily beef up our military capability while developing our economy. But making public a slogan of self-defense is unlikely to benefit our country. We do not have the capability to deter the North Korean long-range guns deployed along the border. That simply shows that the priority of our security should be to reinforce the U.S.-South Korea military alliance.
We are living in turmoil because of labor, media and judicial issues. The Roh administration’s most urgent task is to untangle such snags. We earnestly hope that the administration has learned a lesson from the past six months to better govern this nation.