[EDITORIALS]Doing nothingIt seems that a passenger flight of Asiana Airlines was flying over the East Sea (Sea of Japan) 20 minutes before North Korea fired its first missile Wednesday morning. This indicates that the South Korean government failed to fulfill its most important duty ― protecting its people and assets.
On the morning of July 4, the South Korean government learned that North Korea had sent a warning message on an international frequency for maritime communications to keep ships away from the sea area where its missiles would land. Although it received clear notice of missile launches, the government took no measures in response.
The government reacted leisurely when speculations over the North’s possible missile launches rose. It displayed the same attitude even after missiles were fired. As politicians criticize the administrations belated response, the defense minister answered that the government did not hurry because it knew all about the matter. When the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said he regarded the North’s missile launches as a military provocation, the defense minister suggests that the incident was no big deal.
The South Korean government rejected yesterday a proposal for working-level contacts leading to inter-Korean general officers’ talks that the North proposed on July 3. Seoul showed that it would not be dragged into Pyongyang’s plans, which were to surprise it with missile launches and then hold the upper hand at the talks. If Seoul used this logic, it should be applied to the ministerial talks as well. But Seoul plans to hold senior talks as planned. The South Korean government should not be fooled and bullied by an unreliable Pyongyang, and should cancel the ministerial talks as well.
Incompetence is one problem in this administration. Another is its arrogance. The senior presidential secretary for national security criticized the media coverage that condemned the government’s belated response, saying the coverage showed the newspapers’ shaky national identity and lack of regard for Korea’s national interests. He said that if the president had been awakened in the early morning just because of the incident, it would have attracted the people’s attention more than necessary. He seems to have no idea of what the president’s responsibilities are.
The president has unlimited responsibility for the security of the nation. If he does something wrong and make things even worse, it will be then too late even to regret. The people feel even more insecure when the government remains quiet about the incident. The administration should make some efforts to let the people see that it is at least trying to do something.