An irresponsible surrenderDefense Minister Kim Jang-soo reportedly told his staff that he will stick to the military’s current position on the Northern Limit Line during the ministerial meeting in Pyongyang next month.
He also told them that he had often struggled with the urge to resign since his appointment as minister and that he would negotiate with the North having no attachment to his ministerial post. Foreign Minister Song Min-soon has made a similar comment, stating that he is only prepared to consider the possibility of initiating peace negotiations and that termination of the war should only be announced at the end of such negotiations.
Song’s words counterbalance President Roh Moo-hyun’s belief that he should announce the end of the war before his term ends because peace negotiations could take a long time.
President Roh Moo-hyun’s remarks about announcing the end of the Korean War -- which technically continues because the agreement signed in 1953 was only an armistice -- at a multi-party summit meeting and the Northern Limit Line not being part of the country’s border with North Korea, have caused great confusion and anger among the people.
When this possibility of announcing the termination of the war was discussed during the summit, everyone was acutely interested as to who would be the participants. Would they be South Korea, North Korea and the United States? Or would they be the North, the United States and China? Despite the enormous implications of who the members are, President Roh waved the subject off, saying that he had paid no particular interest in the matter.
This displays a serious lack of responsibility on the part of our president. In saying this, the president has admitted that he has irresponsibly made no preparations for the possibility that South Korea might be excluded.
The president shows no sign of retracting his initial judgment, causing greater frustration among the people.
In this situation, the two ministers’ comments give much relief and hope to the people. It must not have been easy for the two ministers to issue such statements.
The Blue House should understand just how frustrated the ministers must have felt to have made such announcements.
If the president censures these two ministers for having the courage to stand up and speak out, he should expect even greater disapproval from the people.