Keep hope aliveThe Korean Navy’s response to crisis is under question surrounding the sinking of the 1,200-ton corvette called the Cheonan. It took too much time for the Navy to find the ship’s stern, which was sheared off after an explosion. Even worse, a fishing boat, not the Navy, found the stern.
There are arguments that the search was delayed because all nine Navy vessels equipped with variable-depth sonar, needed for the search, were stationed in Jinhae, South Gyeongsang, on the opposite side of the peninsula.
There are also claims that the Korean Coast Guard is playing a bigger role in the joint rescue than the Navy.
At this point it is clear that excessive debate over the cause of the accident or the process of handling the crisis won’t be of much help. If there is a problem with how the Navy is handling the situation, it should be addressed after a thorough investigation on the accident is done.
Now the priority should be the search for the missing as this is an accident unlike any we’ve ever experienced before. Although the cause of the ship’s sinking isn’t clear, we cannot leave out the possibility of a North Korean attack. Under such circumstances it is not right to be engrossed in debates of right and wrong rather than taking quick action.
Considering the agony that the families of the missing sailors are going through, we need to do whatever it takes in a tense, uncertain situation. The government also needs to refrain from making comments commending the early response. Rather, the government needs to make the investigation and rescue process transparent in order to play down rumors.
The various conspiracy theories spreading around the Internet are tasteless. There are absurd claims that the ship’s sinking is the result of a malicious attack by a special North Korean squad or another case of a South Korean solider gone mad. It is true that at this point we have to be open to all possibilities. However, unfeasible, groundless claims only stir up emotion and cloud the judgment of families whose sons and husbands are missing, as well as the general public. Such claims only act as an obstacle to solving the crisis.
It’s said the missing sailors possibly trapped in the sunken stern have a maximum of 69 hours to live since the vessel went under. That point has passed. However, from time to time miracles happen. Under extreme situations, humans have often survived. Even if hope is low we shouldn’t give up our rescue search. It may not be too late to drag the vessel out of the water. We can quibble over who’s right and who’s wrong after we find the missing. In this time of national crisis, we need courage and wisdom.