[EDITORIALS]Why did Bush forget Korea?In accepting his party’s presidential nomination on Friday morning (KST), U.S. President George W. Bush listed the names of some allies and their leaders who have helped the United States in its war on terrorism.
But Mr. Bush didn’t mention South Korea, nor President Roh Moo-hyun in his speech. For Koreans, who have sent troops to both Afghanistan and Iraq to help the American effort and have borne the expenses of the deployment, this omission is difficult to understand. This is a regrettable situation, and we Koreans can’t easily erase the impression that we have been ignored.
Moreover, South Korea made the very difficult decision to deploy additional troops to Iraq in spite of the instability created by the North Korean nuclear crisis, because South Korea believes that helping an ally in trouble proves Korea is a true ally. Also, South Korea decided to send additional troops to Iraq during a difficult period for the United States, when Spain decided to withdraw its troops.
Mr. Bush must be fully aware of such facts, and yet he failed to mention an old ally, which has sent the third-largest contingent to Iraq, after the United States and Britain, while mentioning a country that has sent only over a hundred soldiers.
Washington reportedly said that the omission of South Korea was a mistake, that the text of the speech was prepared by Republican Party officials, not the government. However, it seems to be a flimsy excuse, considering that the speech was probably reviewed by experts and related officials. We even suspect there might be a hidden reason for leaving out South Korea. Mr. Bush should offer a clearer, official explanation.
The United States should recall that at the time two girls, Hyosun and Miseon, were run over by a U.S. tank, the Americans took an inappropriate and irresponsible attitude in the early stages, injuring the pride of Korean people and stimulating anti-American feelings.
Mr. Bush has apparently failed to consider the national pride and the circumstances of his nation’s ally, an oversight that may stir up potential anti-American sentiment in Korea over the United States’ self-centeredness and inhospitable treatment of South Korea. The United States and its government officials must pay close attention to such events in order to avoid repeating incidents that could hurt the Korea-U.S. alliance.