[EDITORIALS]Defense Ministry’s serious lapseThe Ministry of National Defense reacted disappointingly to North Korea’s test firing of a missile, and we feel extremely concerned about our nation’s security.
The White House chief of staff quickly confirmed that the North test-fired a short-range missile. Japan’s chief cabinet secretary also practically confirmed the information, saying that a short-range missile had appeared to be test-fired based on the intelligence coming from its neighbors.
While Korea’s neighbors were confirming North Korea’s sensitive military action, South Korea’s Defense Ministry remained tight-lipped.
It is difficult to understand why the ministry is doing everything to downplay the case, declining to issue an official announcement.
Journalists requested confirmation from the ministry. The ministry replied, “It is not a matter that can be discussed. Please understand.”
Then, some senior government officials said the missile test was “nothing significant.” If it is nothing significant, why can’t the government provide a detailed explanation to its people?
The ministry sources have been stressing that the range of the missile fired was only 120 kilometers (75 miles) and it was a part of a routine exercise that has taken place in the past.
The United States and Japan are even reacting more sensitively, while South Korea’s Defense Ministry is easygoing about the missile test. That is a serious problem. Does the United States fall within range of the missile? South Korea does fall within its range, but the Defense Ministry said everything is okay. Are they out of their minds?
Tensions between Washington and Pyongyang have been escalating quickly over the North’s nuclear arms aspirations. North Korea’s every move has been closely monitored. Washington and Tokyo have been reacting sensitively. Even if it were a routine exercise, it took place at an extremely sensitive time. Then, the implication is not that simple.
But the Defense Ministry is talking about the “short” range of the missile, seeing the matter as nothing extraordinary. Which country is the ministry defending? Why is the Defense Ministry showing such tolerance toward the North’s missile test?
The world knows about North Korea’s missile test, and the ministry cannot hush it up. South Koreans are enraged, questioning if the ministry would react the same even if a missile were dropped on the South.
National security must be defended thoroughly and rigidly. It can never be politicized. The defense minister and the military leaders should consider this situation carefully.