[EDITORIALS]North should accept our helpSouth Koreans are actively trying to aid the residents of Yongcheon, North Korea, where a deadly train explosion resulted in thousands of casualties. From children to elderly people whose hometowns are in North Korea, South Koreans are showing serious efforts to help their North Korean brethren.
This is the first time since the division of the Korean Peninsula that the South has been involved in such a large-scale initiative to support the North. While we are still in a confrontational situation with the North, the brotherly love and humanitarian spirit that we showed must be remembered in our history of unification in the future.
North Korea’s reaction, however, appears to be far different from our intention. It is simply common sense that medicine and other necessities should be sent to the disaster site as soon as possible. But the North is showing no such urgency.
Pyeongyang rejected Seoul’s offers to send relief goods by an overland route. It is understandable that the North may be concerned about allowing a large number of trucks loaded with aid packages to penetrate into the North. But we feel sorry for the North Korean officials for being reluctant to see the reality.
North Korea, with the exception of a few special areas, is practically open to the world already. The most regrettable thing is the North’s rejection of South Korea’s offer of medical teams and a mobile hospital vessel, citing that it has enough doctors working at the disaster site.
Taking into account the North’s situation, who will accept such excuses? Of course, the North is worried about the impact on its regime after South Korean medical teams treat the victims with advanced equipment. But the North must think first about the magnitude and severity of this disaster.
Pyeongyang must recognize that South Korea has no hidden intention in providing the aid. Accepting genuine help will be the first step in unification, which the North earnestly wants. North Korea must no longer hesitate to receive our help. We hope that the North understands that it is out of a pure intention to help our neighbors who encountered misfortune that the South proposes to provide aid, whether it is a hospital ship to treat the victims or tractors to rebuild the disaster site.