[EDITORIALS]Navy monument must go on

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[EDITORIALS]Navy monument must go on

The Navy’s 2nd Fleet was planning to build a monument in Wolmi Park in Incheon to commemorate the inter-Korean naval skirmish in the Yellow Sea in 2002. But the project has been halted due to some local civic groups’ protests. Our society is facing a lamentable situation in which the military cannot even build a victory monument at its former base.
The civic groups have also said they would initiate a movement to remove the statue of General Douglas MacArthur, who led the amphibious landing at Incheon during the Korean War. Such moves coincide with a number of strange happenings in the country.
The civic groups argue that building the Yellow Sea skirmish monument is anachronistic and that it would encourage hostile confrontation between the two Koreas.
Is that so? These protesters are shouting “peace” whenever possible, but they are silent about how to defend the peace.
In 2002, the naval skirmish took place while our Navy was countering the North Korean Navy, which had violated the Northern Limit Line. Winning such a battle is enough reason to build a monument for our military.
And yet, the civic groups are saying that is anachronistic. Are they saying we should stay idle even when North Korean patrol boats cross the Northern Limit Line and when the North Korean Army fires across the Demilitarized Zone?
They are also arguing that we should not build a war memorial in the era of unification. The South is exchanging and cooperating with the North in order to support suffering North Korean people and to achieve unification. But that is a separate matter from strengthening our security. The civic groups must remember that inter-Korean exchanges can only increase if we have stable security.
The Navy is also deplorable. It initially planned to build a memorial hall that would include the monument, but it reduced the scale of the project after the civic groups’ protests, only marking that the 2nd Fleet used to be stationed in the area.
The Navy appeared to cave in due to the furious protests of the civic groups. We cannot understand why the Navy is acting so cowardly.
The civic groups must stop their interruption of the project, and the Navy must go ahead with its original planning.
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