[EDITORIALS]Consult before going public

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[EDITORIALS]Consult before going public

In his letter addressed to the public, President Roh Moo-hyun expressed resolute diplomatic initiatives against Japan. His remarks include such strong expressions as “diplomatic war.”
Government officials say the address was written by Mr. Roh himself and only close aides of him helped prepare it. No Foreign Ministry officials are said to have been involved in the process.
It is very abnormal for the Foreign Ministry to be excluded from such an important diplomatic initiative when it mentions the possibility of a diplomatic war. What is more problematic is that it is not the first time that the ministry was excluded from sensitive foreign and national security issues.
The ministry was not informed in advance of Mr. Roh’s address commemorating the March 1 Independence Movement Day.
It was also excluded from the preparation of his address at the Air Force Academy’s commencement ceremony that explained Korea’s opinion regarding Washington’s strategic flexibility for its forces.
Regardless of the validity and legitimacy of the contents of Mr. Roh’s addresses, his unilateral way of announcing his views on important issues related to national security, through statements prepared by himself, is making the ministry and the public uneasy.
It is a problem concerning the way Mr. Roh works. The cabinet is the organization that manages state affairs helping the president. The president has the right to receive assistance from ministries and at the same time he has the obligation to seek the ministries’ opinions on all issues. The president should not manage state affairs by his own will. What is needed is governance by a system.
No president in the world would sit down in a back room and release his raw opinions to the public through the Internet, as Mr. Roh currently does.
The Foreign Ministry is not free from blame. This kind of unusual situation in which the ministry is excluded from diplomatic affairs should not continue.
The ministry should reflect on why the president neglected its counsel on important diplomatic issues. There must be some reason why Mr. Roh did not care about the ministry.
We ask Mr. Roh to redress the abnormal way of policy formulation. This is not a country where the president rules alone.
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