[EDITORIALS]A sorry spectacleWe are watching sadly the confrontation between the two Koreas at the Daegu Universiade and the two sides’ ways of dealing with it. There is a great difference between the two Koreas’ peoples.
Some civic groups hold press conferences to denounce the North Korean regime, and North Korean journalists react with violence against the activists. Both those stances were inappropriate. North Korea then threatened to boycott the games, and the head of the South Korean organizing committee for the games expressed regret over the incidents. But the North continued to demand a government apology for still another unintentional incident on Tuesday. That was unreasonable.
The North claimed that the dormitory of its cheerleaders had been trespassed, but it would be proper to let the South investigate the matter first. North Korean athletes also accidentally came upon a missionary’s broadcast of anti-communist messages. We understand their feelings of irritation. But if the North ever tried to understand South Korean society and to assume a conciliatory attitude, it would not have made such an unreasonable demand twice.
After the two demands for apologies and threats of a boycott, many South Koreans who were happy to see the cheerleaders now say they would not try to stop the North Koreans from leaving. The North has done nothing more than reminding us of its senselessness, and that is probably not what the North Koreans intended when they arrived here.
It is also hard to tolerate our government’s attitude toward the North’s obstinacy. Minister of Culture and Tourism Lee Chang-dong complained that “the media is driving the situation into a confrontation between the two Koreas’ pride.” But the government is accepting the North’s unreasonable demands and trying to please them at any cost; we question if that tactic is working.
We live in a democratic society full of diverse opinions, and we are proud of that. If the North fails to accept that state of affairs and persists in its obstinacy based on self-isolation, it will not be long before South Koreans give up any affection for the North.