Deplorable delaysGiven what we know about the tragic events surrounding the death of a South Korean tourist on Mount Kumgang last Friday, the situation is appalling.
How could millions of tourists be sent to such a dangerous place with no appropriate safety measures?
The tragedy is basically rooted in the half-witted sense of crisis within both the government and Hyundai Asan. Even though millions of tourists are allowed to travel to North Korea, there is no responsible representative.
At this juncture, the government has no concrete means to respond to the incident. North Korea isn’t even communicating with the South on this matter.
The government’s relaxed state of mind was evident on the day of the accident. It took two hours for an incident report to reach the government and a progress report to reach the President.
There is no graver matter for a government than the killing of one of its citizens at the hands of another country. The slaying should have been immediately reported to the President.
What’s more alarming is that President Lee delivered a speech on appeasement policies with the North at the National Assembly just 50 minutes after he received the report.
Since the presidential aides failed to dissuade the president from giving the address, they are now accused of not caring enough about the loss of life.
In addition, the South has been derided by the North as it indulges itself by suggesting inter-Korean dialogue.
Hyundai also has no sense of responsibility.
Witnesses said that Hyundai did not provide tourists with enough safety awareness. Warning signs are said to be on the thick barbed-wire barriers.
But some tourists said they never saw those markings before.
If that’s the case, visitors did not realize they had been in the jaws of death.
Even after the tragic accident occurred, Hyundai sent tourists to Mount Kumgang.
No matter how important it is for Hyundai to continue the tours, it is appalling that the company has no sense of crisis.
President Lee belatedly said, “Things that should have never happened occurred,” and ordered to overhaul the crisis-management system.
Public officials as well as the President should regain a sense of public service by placing the highest value on people’s lives.