[EDITORIALS]Save the U.S. allianceA high-level official of the U.S. Department of Defense said it was nonsense for the South Korean Defense Ministry to call the “extended deterrence,” a new achievement from the Security Consultative Meeting.
The official was saying the United States has continued to offer extended deterrence. Washington also spoke against the Blue House chief security advisor, Song Min-soon, for saying the United States has had the more wars in its history than any other country. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld said Mr. Song must be reminded the United States lost 30,000 of its soldiers in the Korean War.
It’s never surprising to note discord between Seoul and Washington under the Roh Moo-hyun administration. However, the two countries have managed to overcome major crises due to agreements made regarding South Korea’s dispatch of troops to Iraq and the relocation of the U.S. army base on the Korean Peninsula. However, with the transition of the wartime military operational control issue and the dealings with North Korea’s nuclear test, the conflict between the two countries is reaching a dangerous level now.
South Korea asked for 2012 for the transition of the wartime control, but Washington adhered to 2009. It’s been only a few days since the annual security meeting, but we’ve heard that the U.S. Department of State officials made derogatory about the South Korean government. There may be a difference in views, but if it were a normal alliance, there would be behind-the-scenes coordination. Unfortunately, there seems to be no such coordination, which is evidence of a weaker-than-ever South Korean-U.S. alliance.
We have no other choice but to rely more on the United States for our security, which was true even before the North Korean nuclear test. A simple example would be the fact that we urgently asked for the guarantee of a nuclear umbrella from the United States at the Security Consultative Meeting. It is more so when we consider our economic situation, as we live on exports. In particular, in order to properly deal with Japan, which is leaning to the right and with China, which is provoking us with historical disputes, we must have support from the United States.
When the alliance with Washington falls apart, South Korea will be orphaned in the Northeast Asian region. Revamping the security and diplomatic cabinets must be the highest priority for President Roh Moo-hyun. His appointments should not further aggravate the South Korean-U.S. alliance. President Roh must keep this in mind.