[EDITORIALS]Butt out, Pyeongyang

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[EDITORIALS]Butt out, Pyeongyang

North Korea is fueling the split among South Koreans by exploiting the presidential impeachment here. Since Sunday, the North’s Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland and North Korean media have been enthusiastically provoking South Koreans by urging them to reject “illegal actions” taken by both the conservative opposition parties, including the Grand National Party, and by the United States. We do not understand why the North is interfering in the South’s domestic affairs. This is a clear violation of the basic principles agreed upon by the two Koreas.
North Korea called the impeachment “a coup in the legislature unprecedented in the history of world politics” and “a political rebellion staged by a handful of political quacks quelling the mindset of tens of millions of South Korean people.” North Korea seems to want to support Korean liberals and attack conservatives in an attempt to stir up our society. That will create more repercussions in the South, and eventually it could lead to an outcome exactly opposite to what the North has in mind.
We feel bewildered because the North still fails to understand the South’s situation. There are no tanks on Seoul’s streets, and there are no violent demonstrations. Most South Koreans are living their everyday lives quietly. South Korea is not what the North thinks it is. A president can be impeached, but the impeachment does not shake our country. The North must understand the South’s capability through this incident. The North should learn from our diversity and democracy.
If the North continues to act like this, inter-Korean economic cooperation will not go smoothly. We warn Pyeongyang that South Koreans may increasingly harbor ill feelings against the North, thinking, “Why do we have to support it? It is only trying to disturb us.”
North Korea must withdraw its demand to change the venue of the inter-Korean economic talks from Paju to Gaeseong. Seoul did right by rejecting that demand. Seoul must not repeat its old mistake of countering Pyeongyang sternly at the beginning but quietly accepting the North’s demands later. Inter-Korean relations should be based on principles and Seoul must keep its dignity.
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