[EDITORIALS]Forgive them their sinsThe government has shown an irresponsible reaction to the threat by the North to test a Taepodong-2 missile. We worry where the administration is leading our nation.
After Pyongyang’s preparations for a launch were revealed, senior government officials of the United States and Japan warned North Korea against a test. The United States declared that it would never forgive such an action, threatening sanctions on the communist regime through the United Nations. Japan said it would prepare a variety of measures, such as banning the Jochongnyeon, an association of pro-North Korean residents in Japan, from sending money to North Korea. But the South Korean government has been making lukewarm comments. It said that North Korea should know that a missile launch was not desirable and that it has been monitoring the matter. That was it.
The government must know that a test by North Korea would have a tremendous impact on inter-Korean ties and the situation on the peninsula. Seoul should have consulted closely with Washington and Tokyo and warned Pyongyang of the gravity of its actions.
But how did this administration actually react? Although it knew about a possible missile test, it signaled at military talks with North Korea that it could negotiate over the Northern Limit Line, the Yellow Sea border between the two nations. This was to placate the North while giving up our basic principle that negotiations could not take place before military trust had been built.
This problem could also be seen at the event that marked the anniversary of the 2000 inter-Korean summit. A government delegation, including Unification Minister Lee Jong-seok, participated in this event with mostly anti-American and pro-North Korean attendees. While crying out for cooperation, North Korea is preparing to test a new missile. The unification minister, who also presides over the National Security Council, knew that and still attended an event that was basically propaganda for North Korea’s “self-reliance” ideology.
South Koreans are worried and angry because North Korea ignores our overtures and plans aggressive actions. But the president and his cabinet are quiet. Is this because they are desperate to hold a second inter-Korean summit meeting? Or has the administration done something wrong that we don’t know about but North Korea does?
Seoul must demand that Pyongyang drop its plan for a missile launch.