[EDITORIALS]Active communication is keyThe decision to send part of the U.S. 2d Infantry Division to Iraq has created new questions that both South Korea and the United States must answer.
The U.S. decision was a result of the special circumstances in Iraq and the United States’ new global strategy in the post-Cold War era. However, there’s a sense of unease on both sides, in terms of diplomatic formality as well as national sentiment.
If the two countries share the same understanding of the situation, they should not let such feelings persist, especially when both sides must tackle various pending issues such as the reduction of the U.S. Forces in Korea, the relocation of Yongsan garrison, the revision of the Status of Forces Agreement and the construction of a new U.S. Embassy compound.
Strained relations will disgrace and tarnish the accomplishments achieved together in the past 50 years. It is necessary to work together toward a new Korea-U.S. alliance by taking into account the variables and differences of opinions created by changing circumstances.
Most of all, it is necessary to transform the communications system between the two nations. One of the reasons that the alliance has functioned properly for the past 50 years was that both sides could convey their real intentions swiftly and accurately.
But most people do not believe that the old channels work properly now, especially since the democratizated generation has emerged as a new leadership group and the new administration came into power. They see that unofficial and private communication channels have not yet been properly established.
Recently, South Korea and the United States have gone through tremendous changes internally and externally, and as a result, they have adopted different patterns of decision-making from that of the past.
In order to defuse misunderstandings and to better adapt to new circumstances, the government, as well as the legislature and private organizations, must actively establish communication channels through which both Korea and the United States can express their opinions, share democratic principles and create a new dimension for the alliance.