Listen, act, build trustRecent massive protests against U.S. beef imports pose a crisis for the administration and for the entire country. The president caused the crisis and he should resolve it. The president must resolve the crisis with a determined attitude. The president plans to meet with senior statesmen around June 5 to seek advice and announce a plan to reform state affairs.
He should also open a dialogue with the people. He should be humble and sincere when listening to public opinion. The reforms in state affairs must be bold and thorough. He should be honest and confident when having dialogue with the public.
The direct cause of the incident is beef imports, but a more fundamental cause is distrust of the new administration. Scientific data confirms that U.S. beef is safe to consume.
If the administration were trustworthy this crisis wouldn’t have taken place. The president is most accountable for the lack of trust. But the people also distrust the cabinet and the presidential secretaries. The truth has been distorted and fear has been overblown in part because the government and the ruling party were not confident enough in handling the issue.
The president must show confidence in front of the people. He should explain if there are problems importing beef from cattle older than 30 months, if importing beef from old cattle can be suspended for a while and if renegotiation is possible.
He also needs to explain what benefits we will gain from importing American beef and what people misunderstand about mad cow disease. He can have aides or experts with him if expert knowledge is needed.
At the same time, the president must listen to public questions and complaints.
Some members of the Grand National Party maintain that we should renegotiate the issue.
Renegotiation might be a solution. But trust in international relations, the effects of a free trade agreement and the government’s trust for the people should be given consideration as well. If renegotiations are suggested without serious public consideration, things will get more confused.
Today is the 100th day since the Lee Myung-bak administration took office. It is an important time to determine if the administration is equipped with a driving force for the future.
The people find it more difficult to trust a government that is not confident than a government that makes mistakes.