The time for debate is overThe war on the Korean Peninsula is not yet over. South and North Korea are just in a state of cease-fire. Our history, peppered with clashes, demonstrates the grim reality that the North can provoke the South at any time. Intoxicated by the euphoria from the reconciliatory mood of the past, however, we forgot a simple fact: South Korea confronts the most belligerent nation in the world. Yesterday’s official announcement by the joint military and civilian investigation team regarding their findings on the Cheonan sinking awakens our dull sense of reality.
However, our internal division is more dangerous than an external attack. No matter what provocations the North may engage in, we have the military capability to retaliate against them. But if we try to exploit the threats from North Korea as a means of internal political strife, one torpedo attack is powerful enough to tear the country into pieces.
Since the Cheonan incident, all kinds of groundless arguments and rumors have run rampant in our society. Intellectuals have even jumped on the bandwagon without prudence. In that sense, it is fortunate that the investigation team explicitly showed, through irrefutable scientific evidence, that North Korea is responsible for the sinking.
However obvious the truth may be, there are hundreds of ways to deny it. But now that the truth is known, politicians should not mislead the public with irresponsible rumors. Such behavior would be tantamount to killing the dead Navy soldiers once again and helping the enemy instead. It also amounts to an absurd attempt to disrupt our efforts to seek international cooperation to prevent such a tragedy from happening again.
Unless we want to repeat such a terrible tragedy, we should bring our nation together. To do that, politicians must first forge a bipartisan front. Shortly after 9/11, the U.S. Congress unanimously supported President George W. Bush by passing a joint resolution in the House and Senate. That’s the power that has been sustaining the United States.
We hope that the opposition parties will not choose the wrong target based on the worry that the Cheonan incident will work to benefit the ruling party in the June 2 local elections. It is important for them to face the facts as they are, and ensure there is no difference in views when it comes to the issue of national security. There cannot be anyone who believes the Sunshine Policy would accommodate even military provocations by the North.
Meanwhile, the ruling party should also seek cooperation from its counterpart. It would not be wise for the ruling party to spend time weighing the pros and cons before the election.