Who chose this guy?The main opposition party in a country in a technical state of war with a hostile neighbor should be as resolute on national security issues as the ruling party. There should be no doubt about that, especially if the party has been in the governing seat. But we cannot help but question the security awareness of the Democratic Party considering the lightness with which it addresses the grave matter of the Cheonan crisis.
From the beginning, the party defended North Korea, discounting the theory that the communist regime attacked the naval warship. We can understand its initial show of discretion. But former DP floor leader Lee Kang-rae accused the government of drumming up a propaganda campaign when the investigative team reached a tentative conclusion that the warship had been sunk by an external explosion, heightening suspicion of North Korea as the prime suspect.
That is not all. We are dumbfounded by the irresponsible comments and actions from an opposition lawmaker who joined the joint civilian-military investigation team at the recommendation of his party.
Since the DP had been demanding accuracy in the inquest from the beginning, it should have recommended a capable and reliable expert tantamount to its party’s stature. It should have chosen its candidate after hearing opinions from members of the National Assembly’s defense committee and gotten approval for the candidate from the party’s executive committee following a thorough screening process.
But Representative Lee, who was floor leader at the time, says he doesn’t know the man, Shin Sang-cheol, or how he was recommended. Shin studied oceanography in college, was discharged from the military as a Navy first lieutenant, and worked a few years for a shipping company. But he lacks the expertise of other investigators and is currently neither a professor nor military expert. Instead, he runs a progressive Internet magazine.
Shin also reportedly attended only one meeting. After that he announced his theory that the Cheonan had been either wrecked by a sandbar or a collision with a U.S. naval ship. The state of the ship’s wreckage clearly showed that it had not been involved in a collision. A U.S. navy fleet was more than 100 kilometers (62.1 miles) away from the Cheonan when it sank. But still he dismissed science and facts to float a completely bizarre theory.
The DP must replace Shin immediately. It must answer to the public as to how he was chosen and offer an apology. The Cheonan crisis is a grave national security matter. As a responsible member of the National Assembly, the party must play a more prudent and supportive role at such a critical time.