[EDITORIALS]Roh’s closed-door logicPresident Roh Moo-hyun held a press conference at the Korea Broadcasting Service building. After seeing it, people have had to lower their expectations for an improvement in the current situation.
In terms of national security and foreign affairs, President Roh revealed a very narrow, stubborn point of view. He said, “There has been no problem in the Korea-U.S. alliance. I was convinced of that every time I met with President George W. Bush.” If so, why was he not invited to President Bush’s ranch? The presidents of China and Russia, two enemy countries of the United States during the Korean War, enjoyed the chance to meet President Bush while chowing down on Texan hamburgers. Where was the president of Korea, a part of that blood alliance?
President Roh wavered in taking a stance against the extreme anti-Americans who tried to tear down the statue of General Douglas MacArthur. He let his soldiers be beaten up by protesters in Pyeongtaek. He has not prepared a decent bombing range for the U.S. Air Force in Korea. He said North Korea had a reason to develop nuclear weapons. If he has no problems with President Bush, why did the U.S. president not mention Korea in his State of the Union speech, although Korea sent the third-largest number of troops to Iraq, after Britain and Poland? President Roh should know that the United States feels betrayed by his administration, which took power with the help of anti-American forces.
In regard to the takeover of wartime operational command, President Roh criticized the Grand National Party, which opposes the transfer, and some of the media, saying, “the forefather of the Grand National Party [the Roh Tae-woo administration] pursued a takeover of wartime control.” However, things were different in the 1990s, as far as national security is concerned. North Korea did not fire missiles as a form of brinkmanship, nor did it toy with nuclear bombs. Most of all, the Korean administration got along well with the United States. Anti-American forces or left-wing forces had not taken power. President Roh should not compare the situations then and now so easily. He said the opposition of the Grand National Party was the problem. But former defense ministers, retired generals and other senior citizens who worry about the country are also about to pour out onto the streets, opposing the plan for the transfer.
It is the same in his management of domestic affairs. President Roh apologized for the Sea Story scandal but stuck to his claim that the scandal was not the result of political corruption. How can he be sure about that when the investigation is only in its primary phase? The president also promoted his plan to build a welfare state by 2030. It is the right thing to stress investing in the future of the country, but the plan does not consider what burden South Korea will have to bear when the two Koreas are reunified, or something close to that occurs.
In terms of a free trade agreement with Washington, however, the president’s logic was much more advanced, and he underlined his open-door policy. Regrettably, he does not show the same stance on national security, diplomacy, national discipline and perceptions of modern history.
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
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