[EDITORIALS]Missile launch political?President Roh Moo-hyun said, “The launch of the Taedopong missile test-fire happened not for the purpose of military attack but for political purpose, I think.”
How are we to understand Mr. Roh’s comment?
Mr. Roh made his position clear at a joint press conference with the Finnish president in Helsinki. Mr. Roh appears to have next week’s meeting with President George W. Bush in mind.
It is aimed at putting an end to the recent move of the United States to strengthen the sanctions against North Korea. In November 2004 Mr. Roh said, “North Korea has a point that it has nuclear programs for self-protection,” right before meeting with Mr. Bush in Washington D.C.
Back then, the hardliners against North Korea in the United States were having more influence after the reelection of President George W. Bush. Mr. Roh was attempting to stop Washington from going hard-line on the meeting table with Mr. Bush. Mr. Roh seems to think that he was successful back then.
Still, his comment about the North Korean missile launch is hard to justify. Even if we try hard to make concessions in favor of Mr. Roh, and ignore the Taepodong missile, which turned out to be a failure, we cannot ignore other missiles.
In the salvo on July 5, North Korea succeeded in launching missiles that could reach South Korea and Japan. Security experts voice accord that the missile launch is a direct threat to our national security.
Mr. Roh, however, went further, saying, “The press, which see it [North Korean missile launch] as a military threat, are making it a bigger problem,” in Finland. He was attributing the responsibility to the press. It tells us that Mr. Roh is considering the criticism against the North Korean missile launch in his own nation to be an obstacle in the way of his one-on-one meeting with President Bush.
Mr. Roh once said that South Korea should be able to say what is wrong with the United States as well. We see it as a remark under the premise to keep the peace.
No matter how right the premise is, however, we do not understand what he can do with the sophistry as shown in his remark in Finland.
It was as if Mr. Roh were defining a deer as a horse, in saying that the missile launch is not a military attack but a political display. We take strict precaution against the president’s adventurism in national security.