[EDITORIALS]Badly needed changesUnification Minister Lee Jong-seok revealed his wish to resign following Defense Minister Yoon Kwang-ung. The government officials in charge of diplomacy and national security are likely to change.
The current officials in charge of diplomacy and national security, with Minister Lee at the center, have ignored the reality of inter-Korea relations and international politics. They forgot that South Korea is surrounded by four superpowers and must live with North Korea’s military threats. Because of this, they have clashed with the United States on every issue.
It was the same with the North Korean policy. They were haunted by the concept that the same nationals live in South and North Korea, so they were controlled by North Korea’s strategy of cooperation between the Koreas. These South Korean leaders clung to the simple and naive idea that providing assistance will make North Korea take off its coat, as if in a children’s story.
They ignored the principle that sticks and carrots must be used properly in order to change the other party. As a result, they have done nothing except what North Korea wants them to do, delivering them an enormous amount of aid. At ministerial-level talks between the two Koreas, Mr. Lee did not confront a North Korean representative who said, “North Korea’s military-first policy enhances South Korea’s safety.”
The current government officials in charge of diplomacy and national security have the principle that they will “confront the U.S. and embrace the North.” That has weakened the South Korea-U.S. alliance, isolated South Korea internationally, and made the solution to the North’s nuclear issue elusive. In short, South Korea has been put into the worst possible situation in terms of national security.
Employing new ministers provides a chance to correct unreasonable policies. New ministers should have a good understanding about reality and be able to draw effective strategies. They should have the competence to treasure the Korea-U.S. alliance and global minds, with the experience and knowledge to understand the intentions of the four superpowers. They should be able to prepare for the future of inter-Korean relations. Only then can South Koreans be relieved.
Because of North Korea’s nuclear test and international society’s strict sanctions on it, an emergency could occur at any moment. President Roh Moo-hyun should not re-employ former ministers or other government officials for the positions. If he does, the future of South Korea will become bleak.