[EDITORIALS]Invite brothers, not boorsA high-ranking North Korean official made this browbeating remark: “If the Grand National Party wins the next presidential election, inter-Korean relations will be ruined and enveloped in the flames of war.”
Meanwhile, a North Korean naval officer said in regard to the Yellow Sea Northern Limit Line, “A South Korean vessel that intrudes into [North Korean] territorial waters will have to pay the price, without any warning.”
This is hardly the first time North Korea has meddled in South Korean political affairs, telling the South to do this and to do that. The local elections last month were no exception, with North Koreans giving detailed instructions, such as, “If you voted for the [minor opposition, far-left] Democratic Labor Party, you should vote for the [governing] Uri Party.”
The reaction from the South Korean government, however, has been only to murmur that it’s more important for people to take the big picture in inter-Korean relations into consideration. This time, however, North Korea has gone too far, as the official who spoke of the “flames of war” is An Kyong-ho, the Chief Director of the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland. Mr. An is also the leader of the North Korean delegates to the event in Gwangju, South Jeolla province, to celebrate the anniversary of the June 15, 2000 inter-Korean summit between former President Kim Dae-jung and the North Korean leader Kim Jong-il.
Mr. An’s remarks reflect the readiness of the Pyongyang leadership to seriously interefere in South Korean politics. The remarks show the determination of the Korean leadership to spare no means or measures to help out the South Korean political forces of their liking. The clear example of this determination can be easily found in the fact that Mr. An mentioned a “war,” a topic which North Korea had previously avoided.
What is more pathetic is the attitude the South Korean government adopts in dealing with the North’s unreasonable demands. We already know how the North Korean official will act in the South, seeing that he is already determined to stir up social trouble. Mr. An will surely cry out the mottos of their longtime strategies for national reunification: “Mutual assistance for those in the same nation” and “anti-Americanism.” However, this administration only responds by saying, “That’s what North Korea has been saying all along.” It is never too late for the South Korean government to take issue with Mr. An’s remarks, or even with his visit.
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