[EDITORIALS]To Iraq, in peaceThe deadline set by the Iraqi group that kidnapped Gana General Trading employee Kim Sun-il passed early yesterday morning. The group demanded that Korea withdraw its decision to send troops to Iraq. While we are anxious to know about his fate, we pin our hopes for his survival on the fact that there is no bad news either. Along with the other peace-loving people of the world, the Korean people hope for the safe release of Mr. Kim.
Regardless of the reasons, it is unacceptable to kidnap and murder innocent civilians. It is cowardly, barbaric and does not correspond to the teachings of Islam. Islam is a religion of peace. It treats the lives of others with great importance. The Iraqi people who follow that religion will probably not tolerate kidnaping and terror committed by terrorists.
Although Korea has deployed troops to Iraq, they are not for combat nor for giving harm to the Iraqi people. The dispatch is aimed at supporting the reconstruction of the war-torn country and to help the people. The purpose of our troops has already been proved by the medical and engineering units that are carrying out their missions in Iraq. As a result of their peaceful operations, many Iraqi people agree with the mission of our troops and express their gratitude to Korean soldiers. The additional troops will also be focused on peaceful reconstruction efforts. We hope that the group that kidnapped Mr. Kim realizes this fact.
The vast majority of the Korean people consider their Iraqi counterparts as close friends. Because Korea suffered from colonial rule not too long ago and experienced confusion and war after its liberation, we can understand the emotions and the scars the Iraqis have suffered on their pride. Many Koreans hope that a liberal, independent government is established in the country and active reconstruction of the country becomes a reality. The past experience of Koreans can be helpful in rebuilding Iraq.
The beautiful bond between Koreans and Iraqis, and Korea and Islam, must continue to be developed. Mr. Kim must be released for the sake of relations between the two countries. Iraq should not ignore the goodwill of Korea and its people. It should not turn a country that wishes prosperity and peace for Iraq into an enemy.