Delicacy in a tense situationThe government’s decision to invite experts in explosives and marine accidents from other countries to help solve the mystery of the Cheonan is welcome. Of course, nobody would find fault with an investigation run by Koreans only, but as this incident is of grave significance and suspicion about North Korean involvement lingers, their participation will help. Participation by the United States is especially necessary, as it shares responsibility for security here.
Suspicions about the North are growing as the accident took place in the conflict-ridden waters of the Yellow Sea. Some say that there is no other way to explain the ship’s instant destruction than a military attack. But those suspicions should be held in check until the exact cause is found. Impatient doubts only aggravate the situation.
Not only North Korea but China, Japan and other countries are also carefully monitoring how the incident proceeds. Therefore, the military should present the exact cause to the public. President Lee Myung-bak also stressed that accuracy is more important than speed. That is why we need to discover the cause through a thorough and prudent investigation, so that the whole world will agree with the findings.
If the incident was caused by internal factors in the military, it calls for a massive overhaul of the entire system. On the other hand, if it was caused by a North Korean attack, corresponding punishment is necessary. Whatever the case, our response should be based on firm evidence and justifiable methods. In some scenarios, resolute action and national unity may be required. We also should be prepared to ask for international support. Most of all, U.S. support is absolutely necessary if tension builds up in the course of coping with the incident.
Either way, the repercussions will be very grave, as the sinking exposes a hole in our security preparedness. Both the government and the military didn’t know what to do in the early stages and showed an immature response to a tense situation. This devastated people’s trust in both the military and the government and divided public opinion. We even reached a moment when the families of the missing crew gave up on rescue efforts in the face of cold, strong currents.
Now it is time to pull the ship and the bodies of the crew out of the sea to relieve the sorrow of the families and the people. But in the end, the government should find out the real cause of the incident and take appropriate action. We should never forget the noble sacrifice of Warrant Officer Han Joo-ho, the sailors of the fishing boat Kumyang and the missing crew. Our nation’s fate depends on how the government and the military perform from here on.