Time for decisionWith the U.S. beef import issue remaining unresolved, the general public is turning its back on the Lee Myung-bak administration. Public opinion was reconfirmed through the June 4 by-elections.
It has become clear that reform in state affairs is needed.
It is doubtful that the administration and the Blue House are aware of the seriousness of the problems, and they have not found the right direction to resolve them. Their responses have been belated and insufficient. They do not exhibit keen awareness of the situation and public opinion, making people feel more frustrated.
Until last weekend, the administration did not step back from its stance that renegotiations were impossible. On June 2, the government announced that it would have renegotiations as the Grand National Party had requested.
The next day, the 100th day since Lee Myung-bak was sworn in, the president said in a cabinet meeting that Korea would not import beef from cattle over 30 months old.
But all that talk became meaningless as the U.S. ambassador to Korea said there was no need for renegotiation. The Korean president and the administration lost face and the people were offended.
After that, the government announced that it would leave matters to the private sector, and Korean importers have decided not to import beef from cattle over 30 months old. But people keep wondering if that will be effective. It is more regrettable to know that things are depending on the goodwill of U.S. exporters.
The Blue House has been wavering over the issue and hasn’t made sufficient efforts to calm public anger. The presidential office postponed the announcement of reform measures for state affairs, which was scheduled for June 5, and the president’s dialogue with the people, scheduled for June 9.
Even the ruling GNP is calling for drastic reform in personnel affairs. But the Blue House says it needs more time, saying the president doesn’t replace his men easily. Some ministers and presidential aides have revealed their problems and flaws, which are so serious that no further investigation is needed.
Now is the time for the president to make a decision.
If suitable measures haven’t been found or if the timing is not right, the president must come before the people and appeal to them to wait. If there are measures, he should reveal them and seek cooperation.