[EDITORIALS]A dangerous conflict at homeConflict between the Blue House and the Defense Ministry is escalating to dangerous levels. Initially, the problem was the military’s failure to report an exchange between North and South Korean vessels in the Yellow Sea. Now the problem has snowballed to one that threatens national order, in which the Blue House has blasted the Defense Ministry for leaking operational details to the press. It is undesirable for the military and the president, the supreme commander, to be in conflict. There has never been such a case in our modern history. In the relationship between the commander-in-chief and the military that must obey his orders, such things should never happen. The public, watching the situation, is nervous. We shudder to think what would happen if a real crisis arises along the Demilitarized Zone.
The gist of the problem here is that North Korean patrol ships violated the Northern Limit Line. And the incident was resolved by our Navy on the spot by dealing with the North’s incursion in a proper manner. In the process of dealing with the incursion, the Navy failed to report the contents of communications with the North Korean boat.
What the commander-in-chief should do is praise the Navy’s initial actions, then quietly call on those responsible to account for the failure to report, in full detail, what happened on the Yellow Sea that day. The problem is simply that, and nothing more. Why does the Blue House raise its voice over such a simple matter, and why does it stoke division by saying that the military’s action, in effect, challenges the command-in-chief? What must the North be thinking about us? Strangely, amid this strange drama pitting the Blue House and the military against each other, there is no mention of the North’s incursion into southern waters.
The truth aside, no more of this confict should be aired. It should be resolved quietly and swiftly. First of all, the commander-in-chief should have a broader perspective; he should not be seen to mistrust the military’s leadership. One way to achieve that would be to reward the sailors who acted by the book in the face of the incursion, and clarify just what went wrong in the military’s chain of command. He should wrap up this conflict by holding accountable those responsible for the communication failure.