[EDITORIALS]New lineup, same policiesThe present administration seems to have no intention of changing its national security and foreign policies. This is the impression one gets when looking at the lineup of candidates who will fill the newly-vacated top seats at the Ministry of Unification, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Defense and National Intelligence Service. Most of the candidates on the list are either politically affiliated with the president or merely being shifted from one post to another.
Since North Korea’s nuclear test, the international dynamics surrounding the Korean Peninsula and its security have shown volatile change and many feel that our government policy towards North Korea should change accordingly. Also, it was hoped that through this security crisis, the Korea-U.S. alliance would be restored to its former amicable state. However, it seems that these hopes should be put away for another day when considering most of these potential candidates. The reasons that these candidates were selected vary, but they all share the commonality that they are of the same “code” as the president. Song Min-soon, the current presidential advisor on foreign affairs and security who reportedly will become the next foreign minister, recently annoyed the U.S. government by accusing the U.S. of being a belligerent country.
When asked whether he will continue a policy of tolerance towards Pyongyang even after the nuclear test, President Roh replied that Seoul could not act as if nothing has happened. He also added that North Korea was exaggerating the national security threat, which led many to believe that the president was considering a fundamental change in government policy toward the North. However, when former President Kim Dae-jung and other voices in domestic politics started to speak up in support of continuing the Sunshine Policy, the president went mum. With the president quiet, the only way to discern whether there will be a change in government policy toward Pyongyang and on national security and foreign affairs is by analyzing the new national security and foreign policy lineup. The candidates on the list show that the president intends no significant change in policies. This causes one to fear that there will be no change to the policy of tolerance toward the North that has already proved to be a failure, and no improvement in our faltering relations with the United States. May these fears be groundless. We hope that the president understands what the public desperately waits for.