[EDITORIALS]Same old nonsenseNorth Korea has abruptly cancelled the test run of an inter-Korean railroad system. The reason given by the North was that the South was steering the inter-Korean relationship toward war.
It’s very frustrating that the North has reverted to its old ways of citing unreasonable excuses and arguments. For the North to backtrack on agreements is nothing new.
Nevertheless, never was it as audacious as this time. Both Koreas had exchanged detailed plans for the test run and the list of the people who would participate in the event. Yesterday at the Panmunjeom station, a North Korean train made its appearance while North Korean train officials could be seen testing the railroad system. After showing signs that it would participate in the scheduled event, the North abruptly notified Seoul of the cancellation.
There are several reasons behind this move; obtaining even more economic support from the South is one of them. The notion by the North that it would take its time to consider the test is proof enough. Nevertheless, this move will be shown to have been a miscalculation.
The North has to bear in mind that if it breaks agreements at its leisure, the South Korean people who tried to understand the idea of support for the North will turn their backs on the idea.
The repeated breaches of agreements by the North are in practice condoned by the current administration. When there was a large scale of North Korean defectors and the North reacted angrily, Seoul tried to calm the North and made announcements that sounded apologetic. Even when agreements made by ministers are broken, there are no penalties. In particular, with the North doing nothing, the South Korean president went as far as to promise unconditional support in systems and material to the North. Under such circumstances, it is no wonder that the North may think it is fine to act as if it were the master of the South.
The Unification Ministry has expressed its regret and urged the North to take responsible measures. Nevertheless, this time we should not play this game softly. We have to ensure that the North knows that when an agreement is broken, there are consequences to pay. Only then will the North not easily break agreements and only then can the inter-Korean relationship develop further to a higher level. If, by any chance, there are any thoughts of providing more support to the North to make the test run happen, they must be dropped.