Border betrayalPresident Roh Moo-hyun said that the Northern Limit Line is not a border. In doing so, he ignored the duty of the president as stated in the Constitution. Article 66 stipulates that the president has a duty to preserve the independence of the country and its territory and to protect the continuity of the country and its Constitution.
The Northern Limit Line has functioned as a sea border between South and North Korea for the past 54 years. As he denies that fact, the president is open to the charge that he is neglecting his duty to protect the territory. This is a grave matter, which could be grounds for impeachment.
Citing Article 3 of the Constitution, which states that Korea’s territory is the Korean Peninsula and its islands, President Roh used the bizarre logic that North Korea is also our territory according to the Constitution, so it is confusing to draw a line within this territory and call it a border line. That is like saying that the Military Demarcation Line is not a border between South and North Korea. It does not make sense to make such a claim when he is the very person who staged the event of crossing the demarcation line on foot on his way to his summit with Kim Jong-il.
The Blue House explained that the strategic thinking to overcome the sensitive NLL issue resulted in plans to designate a joint fishing area as a special zone for peace in the Yellow Sea and another area as a zone of peaceful cooperation in Haeju and the coast off that city.
But debates to reset the NLL can be simply postponed, and measures to build military trust, which is needed to build a special zone for peace, can be discussed first. The debate on whether civil vessels can travel to Haeju directly do not need to involve the NLL issue if the right of innocent passage, a principle of international law, is applied. There is no need for the South to raise the issue of the NLL and cause controversy.
South Korean Defense Minister Kim Jang-soo is to go to Pyongyang to discuss the NLL issue. He is now in trouble because of Roh’s remarks. Kim strongly believes that the NLL is a border. He has said that preserving the NLL was a major achievement of the recent summit meeting. But with military talks coming, his commander-in-chief made a remark that a North Korean spokesperson would be likely to utter. We urge Kim to stick to his convictions, no matter how difficult it is. He must be prepared to commit mutiny, if necessary, to preserve the NLL. If he cannot do the right thing, then he might as well resign from his post.