[EDITORIALS]An unsavory security debateLawmakers of the governing and opposition parties on the National Assembly’s defense committee are engaged in an extremely deplorable debate over the South’s capability to deter North Korea’s long-range artillery. Grand National Party Representative Park Jin has made public an analysis by the Korea Institute for Defense Analyses that Seoul would fall within 16 days if South Korea’s military were to defend against the North’s attack alone.
Then, the Uri Party’s Im Jong-in said Korea had conducted drills that would suppress the North’s long-range artillery within two days. Now, we are facing an unbelievable situation in which our security has become politicized at the National Assembly.
Mr. Park cited one of many analyses done by the state-run institute. There are many other scenarios and analyses. If the North threatens to use nuclear weapons, we may have to surrender even before 16 days. Of course, we can never allow a small dent in defending our nation’s security. Therefore, we can understand Mr. Park’s intention that we must prepare for the worst possible scenario. But Mr. Park overlooked one thing. Since 1994, South Korea and the United States have revised their operating plans to strongly reinforce the capabilities to take on the North’s long-range artillery. The two countries even prepared for the possibility that U.S. reinforcements might not arrive on the peninsula in the event of a war.
Such information is nothing secret. Those with some knowledge of this nation’s defense must know that. Mr. Park, therefore, was thoughtless in exaggerating the condition by referring to only one analysis by the institute.
Mr. Im’s argument is also hasty. It is possible that the drills prove South Korea’s capabilities. But reality is different from a drill. No one knows how great the damage would be on the first day of an attack. How can he possibly address the issue as if there is nothing to worry about?
North Korea’s long-range artillery is the most serious threat to us. All South Koreans are aware of the threat. Therefore, the lawmakers must do their best to reduce the seriousness of the threat. Security can never be politicized. Our country cannot be viewed as stable ― or unstable ― based on the need of politicians. Such hasty and confusing assessments only disturb the people. The Ministry of Defense must also ease the growing concerns by providing some reliable information.