[EDITORIALS]Fawning over the dictatorPresident Roh Moo-hyun said “North Korean missile tests are bad behavior” in a meeting with his security advisers yesterday. But he also said, “An excessive reaction only leads to unnecessary tension and confrontation, which never helps in settling an issue.”
It is hard to understand what he was trying to say, because he didn’t explain what he meant by an “excessive reaction.”
Mr. Roh had remained silent after North Korea’s missile launches except for a warning against Japan’s muttering about pre-emptive strikes against North Korea. It took him two weeks to say that the missile launch “not only disturbs the peace on the peninsula but also provokes an arms race in the region.”
Was it really that hard for him to say those words? The problem now appears to be that Mr. Roh did not urge Pyongyang to reflect on what it did. Mr. Roh should have urged such an examination on Pyongyang, considering what he said yesterday. But on the contrary, Mr. Roh appeared to have found a problem with South Korea’s stance instead.
Mr. Roh said, “It is necessary to keep calm in analyzing the core of the present situation.” Well, what would that core be? It is the fact that North Korea displayed its military strength by firing short-, medium- and long-range missiles, seven in all, beginning in the predawn hours. That was a threat not only to our own security but also to that of international society. That is why the United Nations adopted resolution. Still, Mr. Roh is not blaming the person that caused the situation. Instead, he is only talking about an “excessive reaction,” a phrase the public doesn’t understand.
Mr. Roh should have defined what would be a proper reaction. Also, he should have commented on whether Seoul’s reaction had been proper. Mr. Roh is in charge of the nation’s security, and he bears the responsibility to make it clear whether missile tests are threats to our security or not and explain his reasoning.
North Korea announced that it would stop reunions of separated families, and Seoul is only parroting the same message of “no excessive reactions.” The administration should remember that dealing calmly but firmly with an issue is not the same as “idle and irresponsible” reactions. The UN had reason to adopt the Security Council resolution. What are our follow-up measures? It is really sad to see the administration closing its eyes to international society as it indulges in the naive thought that North and South are the same nation and rushes to embrace Pyongyang.