[EDITORIALS]Abrupt change of wordsPresident Roh Moo-hyun has kept changing his words ever since North Korea conducted a nuclear test. Immediately after the detonation, he said, “It is hard to keep insisting on the engagement policy,” and, “The threat on security that North Korea talks about is either something that does not exist or something that is overly exaggerated,” thus sending a stern warning to North Korea.
However, after twenty days of silence, he has now said the opposite ― that the North’s nuclear threat should not be exaggerated.
The president said, “It is true that threats on security increased due to the nuclear test,” but he also said, “We should think seriously and coolly whether North Korea will make a preemptive attack with its nuclear arms,” revealing his perception that North Korea’s possession of nuclear devices does not impose a threat to us.
In regard of the military balance between South and North Korea, President Roh said he did not think South Korea’s military would become inferior to its Northern counterpart. He emphasized that he would work hard for the military balance not to topple, with the help of South Korea’s military, the South Korea-U.S. alliance and international society. “Based on this military superiority, we will always keep the peace and retain friendly relations with the North,” he added.
President Roh has a peculiar idea of security. No countries believe that they can win against a nuclear state with conventional weapons. President Roh has shouted for independent defense but changed to say he will keep military superiority to North Korea, depending on the South Korea-U.S. alliance and international society, probably because he knows the danger of nuclear weapons.
However, the administration has blindly clung to its engagement policy, shaking the Korea-U.S. alliance to its roots and making South Korea a country that is not trusted in international society.
Mr. Roh says one thing and does another. He said “We will always keep the peace and retain friendly relations with the North” but, regardless of his intentions, that is like saying, “As long as we do anything that North Korea, a nuclear state, wants us to do, it won’t attack us.”
The president’s initial response to North Korea’s nuclear test was appropriate. But after some 20 days, he acknowledged North Korea’s possession of nuclear arms and declared that he would sustain a servile relationship with the North. He should provide explanations to the people who are perplexed by his abrupt change of words.