Time to make amendsPresident Lee Myung-bak spoke his mind on the current state of affairs for the first time since the death of former President Roh Moo-hyun.
He has much cause for concern. The country is split by ideological and regional differences. Bribery and corruption cases are duly replayed as politics remains mired in its combative and contentious culture.
Lee said he was contemplating these problems and listening to a variety of opinions to seek ways to overcome them. He said he will unveil a set of countermeasures after he listens to more opinions upon returning home from his U.S. visit.
Those measures may come later this month. The president appears to finally be leaving his aloof and detached shell to yield to repeated calls for change and reform.
The president’s actions reflect his thoughts on the recent series of events. We hope he chooses more tolerant ways to solve these problems rather than inciting conflict.
He himself has said national unity, along with economic recovery, is of the utmost importance.
In his address to the public he said that he understood people were feeling anxious and confused. He should be true to his words by sincerely trying to think of ways to soothe and relieve the public’s pain.
He must ask himself why the general population, nearly half of which cast votes to elect him to the presidency, is now at opposite ends of the regional and ideological spectrum.
He should question whether the extensive investigation into the recently closed bribery scandal involving the late president, though justified, might have been a bit disproportionate.
He needs to assess whether his communication with the opposition parties was sufficient before he attempted to expedite contentious bills and plans such as the four rivers restoration project.
He must evaluate his governmental and presidential aides to decide whether they are the appropriate persons for their positions and whether they are doing their jobs well.
To do all this, he must first take a good, hard look at himself.
The president said he scrutinizes the comments posted on the presidential Web site to keep up with public opinion. Such efforts will be helpful.
Timing is important. We hope he won’t brood too long and miss the chance to make amends with the public.
We hope the president will announce the measures via a press conference and that he will extend a hand to the opposition camp to develop a better working relationship with them.