Divided we fallThe sinking of the 1,200-ton patrol ship Cheonan over the weekend left 46 sailors missing. One member of the rescue team died during his mission to save the sailors.
No words can describe our gratitude and respect for these rescuers who are sacrificing their lives for their country and compatriots. The public’s criticism over the rescue efforts and politicians’ demands for speed are probably an expression of their sadness over these sacrifices.
However, this is a national security issue. Although the exact cause of the ship’s sinking hasn’t been verified, the conclusion is that it was caused by a strong impact from outside the ship. This makes the North’s involvement more probable. Until a thorough investigation is complete, the nation must come together at a time like this. As we still do not know whether the missing sailors are alive or dead, the government must support rescue efforts fully.
During the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the U.S. government wasn’t able to strike back properly even though it had obtained related intelligence beforehand. However, after the attacks, the U.S. was united as one, despite political differences.
In the past, we also had an understanding that over security issues, political parties should come together. But this time, it is disappointing that the problem led to yet another political divide from the start. It is even more worrisome that politicians are trying to exploit this accident for the upcoming June 2 elections.
Of course, the government and the military’s first response were far from perfect. The government’s vague announcements led to the spread of numerous conspiracy theories on the Internet. Excessive secrecy bred the public’s doubts. This behavior must be criticized and the government should be held responsible for its ineptitude. However, this must come after taking care of the more pressing matters of security and rescue.
The National Assembly held a meeting yesterday and fired questions at the Defense Ministry, following an earlier session with the minister. The Assembly is also reportedly forming a national security committee. Opposition parties said they plan to create a special investigation team. With so many false theories confusing the public, their questions need answers.
Our bigger worry is over how one side is arguing that the North caused the incident for sure and the other side is mincing words to exclude the possibility of the North’s involvement.
The Korean War is still not over. Threats regarding national security can arise at any time in any form. If we are divided now, it is questionable whether we will be able to handle a bigger threat in the future. It is time for the political parties to unite the people’s hearts as one.