[EDITORIALS]Korea and UN peacekeepingThe United Nations has officially asked the government to dispatch Korean troops to Haiti. After former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide of Haiti was expelled in February, UN peacekeeping forces were dispatched there; the international organization has invited South Korea to take part in this peacekeeping effort for the purpose of rehabilitation and keeping law and order.
South Korean troops have been deployed in Cyprus, East Timor and Western Sahara as a part of UN peacekeeping forces, and they have become indispensable to such efforts. Now the international community is asking Korea to take more international responsibility, matching its economic power.
UN peacekeeping forces, unlike Korean troops deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan under the terms of the Korea-U.S. alliance, operate in the name of the United Nations and are financed and controlled by the international body. Sending troops as part of a UN mission is a multilateral activity and is an important contribution to the international community.
The reason the UN sends troops under its name to areas under dispute is because internal stability and safety from outside attack are essential conditions for achieving world peace and economic development. Advanced countries donate money and provide troops for keeping international peace under the UN flag.
South Korea, which joined the UN belatedly, received tremendous assistance from the UN’s peacekeeping forces in the past because of national division, the Korean War and the military confrontation between the South and the North.
But Korea’s status has changed greatly with its economic growth and the development of democracy. South Korea has become the 12th largest trading country in the world and a member of the OECD.
The demand to take responsibility in proportion to its rise in the role and importance in the international community is unavoidable.
It is anticipated that the requests to dispatch troops for peacekeeping as a UN member will continue in the future. It is necessary, therefore, to be prepared to act actively as advanced countries do. It is time to consider organizing a special military unit on a permanent basis that is formed specifically for overseas dispatch, and make sure it is prepared and trained for such duties.