[EDITORIALS]Open dialogue in Buan fightThe acute confrontation between the government and Buan residents over the construction of a nuclear waste disposal facility there has gone on for a long time. The reason why dialogue between them is completely blocked is that there is a serious problem with the government’s approach. The Prime Minister’s Office announced Monday that an unofficial dialogue between the government and the residents would resume on Tuesday, but that didn’t happen. In the absence of an agreement, the government announced that there was an agreement.
The Buan situation started to get twisted when the government tried, without making a sincere effort to persuade residents, to push the construction project, treating it as a done deal. President Roh Moo-hyun confessed last month, “It seems that the government has made a misjudgment.”
Later, the government promised to provide various compensations but failed to restore residents’ confidence. Even if the residents get to vote on a referendum on the project, how can they trust the government?
Under such uncertain circumstances, the government decided to act as if there were an agreement. The Wido Development Council, which supports the project, held a meeting Tuesday to explain to residents a plan to establish the Wido Corporation. It was disrupted by a fierce struggle between residents who support the plan and those who oppose it. These incidents are a result of the insincere and arrogant attitude of the government.
We do not deny that there is problem with the Buan residents’ council’s actions. It has refused to hold a dialogue with government representatives from the Prime Minister’s Office or the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy. If the residents exclude working-level officials, it is difficult to make any progress.
To avoid an unnecessary war of attrition, both sides must have an open mind when they negotiate. The government must make a serious effort to restore confidence. Nothing will be achieved if both sides do not attempt a serious dialogue, but the government must show sincerity first.