Mired in political wrangling

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Mired in political wrangling

Two painful months have passed since the Cheonan incident occurred, and one week has passed since the government announced North Korea was responsible for the sinking. Each party is focused on exploiting the tragedy in its favor for the upcoming local elections.

Even adopting a resolution condemning the North seems to be beyond them. Calling the conclusion reached by the joint investigation team “untrustworthy,” the opposition is busy enumerating one suspicion after another. And no one from the opposition has renounced North Korea.

Last weekend, the United States Senate passed a resolution denouncing North Korea, with 25 countries following suit. Against this backdrop, our politicians’ response to the crisis is terribly disappointing.

The Democratic Party has strongly denied the possibility that North Korea was involved in the sinking, listing every possible scenario and lambasting our military for failing to guard the Yellow Sea. It was only yesterday that DP Chairman Chung Sye-kyun admitted, albeit furtively, that the incident was caused by the North, adding that it was because other investigation results are not available now. He seems to be saying we should wait to come to a conclusion until “other investigations” are finished.

With just two weeks left before the local elections, politicians’ obsession with the election can be understood. However, they go too far if they define President Lee Myung-bak’s special address to the nation regarding the tragic incident as an attempt to influence the election. DP Chairman Chung even said, “Obviously, the government seeks to exploit the incident because President Lee made his speech just one day after the first anniversary of former President Roh Moo-hyun’s death.” DP floor leader Park Jin-won agreed.

But should the president hide the truth or keep mum when the evidence clearly points to the North as the guilty party?

Immediately after 9/11, the U.S. Congress entrusted Republican President George W. Bush with unprecedented powers. In the face of a national crisis, even the Democrats stood behind their president, crossing party lines. The two parties’ united response to the crisis reaffirmed people’s trust in them.

In matters of national security, prudence is desirable. But the arbitrary distortion of an irrefutable conclusion, solely for political gain, is disgraceful behavior for a politician. Security issues should always take precedence over politics in the life of a country.

We strongly urge our politicians to adopt a bipartisan resolution and move beyond their political affiliations.

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