Redouble efforts on securityThe hull of the naval corvette Cheonan was lifted above water 29 days after it sank, and the government has designated fi ve days, starting Sunday, as the offi - cial mourning period for the 46 dead or missing. Though six bodies are still missing, the families have decided to end the search, and the joint funeral will take place on Thursday. The entire nation must unite in mourning the young lives cut short by an unexpected explosion during a routine patrol at sea.
At the same time we must keep their sacrifices forever in our hearts and remind ourselves never to allow such a tragedy to repeat itself. And most of all, we must not forget who carried out this atrocity and took those valuable young lives from us.
Nothing has been confirmed even after the entire wreck has been salvaged. We must comb through the debris to pinpoint the offender. The team of civilian, military and international forces must mobilize all their resources to come up with a scientific and thorough analysis to corner those responsible. Suspicions and questions have been answered one by one, and the investigation team has concluded tentatively that a close blast ripped apart and sunk the 1,200-ton patrol ship in waters near the disputed maritime border with North Korea.
The blast was caused by a military weapon like a torpedo or mine. There is no one bold enough to carry out such a military attack along Korea’s west coast. But though we gnash our teeth, we must keep cool until we secure decisive evidence to present a case beyond doubt. When the moment of truth arrives with a definite conclusion about the culprit, we must be ready to make a decision that puts our national destiny at stake. We must not waver.
The incident is a painful reminder of the holes in our security. We have all come to face the dreadful fact that our neighbors are ready to attack us whenever one man gives the word. Their banners cry out that we are of the same race, but these are lies and cynical charades. We have been misled, fooled and caught unprepared.
The Cheonan’s sinking raises questions about our entire military operation. Was the Navy alert and ready for North Korean provocations in waters that have seen deadly skirmishes in recent years? Did they seriously consider reading through the tactics behind North Korea’s habitual weapons fire near the maritime border? The military must take the loss of the Cheonan to heart and remind itself never to repeat this failure. So that the victims will not have died in vain, the military and the public together must renew our awareness and commitment to security so that we can restore peace in our national waters.