South failed nine defectors from NorthThe recent news about nine family members of a South Korean prisoner-of-war being arrested by the Chinese authorities and swiftly repatriated back to North Korea makes both my heart weep and my blood boil.
The fate of these hapless nine can be expected to be grave or even capital (in fact, it has been reported that one female has already died) as the nine made the treasonous error of attempting to reach South Korea.
The actions (or lack of them) of the consular staff at Shenyang are reprehensible at best.
If either the safety of the nine was not urgent to the staff, or if it is possible ― but not yet proven ― that they were the guilty party in tipping of the Chinese police to the whereabouts of the refugees, that is unforgivable.
These worthless consular staff are an extension of their government’s foreign policy and in their old age will try to justify their actions with that lame defense.
The well worn but pathetic official policy excuse of not wanting to upset North/South relations is now at least five years dated.
The obvious state of North/South relations is that South Korea will bend over backwards to please and not interfere in the internal affairs of North Korea at the same time the North will do as it pleases, testing missiles and nuclear weapons and interfering in the affairs inside South Korea.
(In the last week, North Korea has threatened nuclear war on South Korea if the Grand National Party wins the next election).
And, of course, North Korea accepts the billions of dollars South Korea throws it way.
So is “Colonel Song” Min-soon, South Korea’s new foreign minister ― who represented his country’s interests so strongly in SOFA and base relocation negotiations with the United States and is the person in charge of protecting the welfare of South Koreans abroad ― going to allow such a travesty to occur on his watch with consequences for the Chinese? Of course he is!
Or will the pardoned convict and new Unification Minister Lee Jae-jeong, as a former priest, beg and implore his Northern counterpart to show mercy and forgiveness for the nine and request that they be allowed to enter South Korea, under pain of a halt in aid if refused?
Once again that’s a rhetorical question!
The fact is the “Sunshine Policy” has been and continues to be a failure, with North Korean refugees suffering the most as a result of this well-intentioned but failed policy. While most South Koreans and the foreign expat community eagerly await the December presidential elections and change of government, biding our time smugly amusing ourselves at the constant idiotic drivel that comes out of President Roh’s mouth, for the North Koreans evading capture in China it is literally a life and death situation. The change of president and (hopefully) change of policy can’t come soon enough.
And finally I would like to remind the Shenyang consular staff and Ministers Song and Lee and indeed the president himself what the 35th president of the United States, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, famously said, “The hottest place in hell is reserved for those who in times of moral crises remain neutral.”
Brendan Brown, Itaewon 2 Dong, Seoul