Lee’s puzzling remarksWhat is going on with Lee Jae-joung, the Unification Minister? Which country’s cabinet member is he? “The belligerency in the Yellow Sea [in 2002] is a case where we have to check whether we did anything wrong in protecting our safety,” said the minister. That is a step forward from the comment he made a few days ago when he claimed that the NLL, or the Northern Limit Line, is different from the border and does not define South Korea’s territory.
The Yellow Sea fight was caused by a preemptive strike by North Korea. Tens of seamen were injured and six were killed. What did South Korea do wrong and what does it have to be penitent about? Lee is trying to say that South Korea’s reluctance to compromise with North Korea regarding the NLL was the biggest cause of the deaths, and that South Korea has to be sorry for that.
Lee is obviously mentioning the NLL to pave ground for that issue to be discussed during the planned inter-Korean summit. He wants to hint that the NLL will be in the summit agenda. His notion cannot be more dangerous. The territory issue is sensitive and shouldn’t be handled under an ambiguous concept of “better inter-Korean relationship,” especially when there is no mutual trust between the military forces of the nations. If we follow Lee’s suggestions, then we would even have to reconsider the DMZ to avoid conflict along the temporary border. Does he want the South to adulate to the North by giving up territory? Why is the government keeping a person like this in office?
Every South Korean wants a better relationship with the North, but we can’t be captured by illusion without any concrete foundation. We have to be freed from the idea that if we do not give the North what it wants, then there will be conflict. Moreover, Lee needs to stop the blaspheming against the warriors of the Yellow Sea incident.
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
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