[EDITORIALS]Double-talk about securityThe government and the United States are moving to conclude negotiations on the proposal to move the South Korea-U.S. Combined Forces Command and the UN Command to Osan and Pyeongtaek. With that decision, the South Korean military forces will have to take the responsibility of deterring a North Korean attack on its own at the attack’s initial stage. This change will deepen the people’s worry over national security because of strong doubts about our military forces’ capability to handle such provocations.
On Friday, Cho Young-gil, the minister of defense, visited the Grand National Party and said, “If the South Korea-U.S. Combined Forces Command and the UN Command move south of the Han River, there will be problems involving the people’s concern over national security and military coordination between the Korean and U.S. forces.” Never-theless, only four days later, the spokeswoman for the ministry announced that there would be no problems in the coordination and readiness of the Korean-U.S. combined forces. The ministry said the minister’s words were misinterpreted. This is all confusing. If it were true that Mr. Cho’s words were misinterpreted, why did the ministry not issue a correction right away?
There was no explanation as to how we are going to deal with the firepower of 11,000 artillery pieces without U.S. forces in case the North decides to attack Seoul. If security can be achieved through mere words, why should people worry and why should we spend an astronomical amount of money to maintain a force of 600,000 men? Talks on the reduction of U.S. forces are supposedly postponed until the end of next year, but we hear about such reductions from U.S. officials continuously.
Nevertheless, the Ministry of Defense keeps repeating the old line that there are no talks about U.S. war-fighting force reductions. If all this confusing ballyhoo is connected to the dispatch of Korean forces to Iraq, then the emotions of both sides surrounding the problem is even more serious. The government should explain the situation to the people.