[EDITORIALS]An inappropriate tuneThe head of the Cultural Properties Administration, Yoo Hong-joon, who is visiting North Korea as a member of South Korea’s delegation to the June 15 Unification Grand Festival, sang the theme song from a North Korean war movie, “Nameless Heroes,” at an official dinner. Mr. Yoo had been discussing the movie with the North’s minister of health, and was responding to his request to sing the song.
“Nameless Heroes” is about North Korean agents infiltrating the combined U.S. and South Korean forces during the Korean War. The film’s message is the legitimacy of what North Korea calls its “liberation war,” and its intent is to arouse anger against the United States. Regardless of the fact that he was requested to do so, it was inappropriate for Mr. Yoo to sing that song.
The time when we treated all North Korean songs as taboo is over. There is no reason for people to refrain from singing a song they like. One is free to do so. But Mr. Yoo is a high-ranking official of the South Korean government, and the song he sang, at an official dinner in Pyongyang, was the theme song from a film that praises the violation of South Korean and U.S. forces.
If a government official behaves like this, what becomes of the legitimacy of the Republic of Korea? For what did those, who were sacrificed in the Korean War, lose their lives? How could he have behaved that way? It defies common sense. If an ordinary citizen had done that at a private drinking party, to create a pleasant atmosphere, it would be understandable. Perhaps Mr. Yoo sang that song with a light heart.
But it was not a private drinking party, and he was part of a government delegation. He represents South Korea with his every move. So it could be misinterpreted that the present administration shares North Korea’s view of the war. What will our soldiers, who are undergoing various hardships to defend the nation from the North, think of this? Mr. Yoo must provide a clear explanation.
If we treat North Korea generously, we can elevate inter-Korean relations to a higher level. But Mr. Yoo’s behavior doesn’t belong in that category. Such childish acts will never contribute to the progress of inter-Korean relations.