Aid should follow apology

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Aid should follow apology

North Korea’s so-called National Defense Commission Inspection Team announced yesterday the results of its own investigation of the Cheonan sinking, which took place in the western sea border and killed 46 sailors aboard.

In the announcement, North Korea argued that the joint military-civilian investigation led by the South Korean government was a scheme to fabricate an explanation of what happened on March 26. The North refuted our investigation point by point by assembling all the malicious rumors floating around at home and abroad.

After refusing to accept a proposal for an investigation by the military truce commission while persistently demanding the South accept its own investigation, North Korea finally came up with its own conclusions.

The North apparently aims to fuel the controversy further, because it knows full well that there are groups here and overseas that distrust the government-led investigation.

North Korea’s insulting move is incompatible with what it wants from us. The North recently requested a massive amount of rice and fertilizer aid in return for the resumption of reunions of families separated since the Korean War. The North has also made conciliatory gestures toward the South after facing severe economic hardships due to the deterioration of South-North relations, the suspension of six-party talks and the severing of ties to the outside world in the wake of the Cheonan sinking.

And yet North Korea asked us to provide 500,000 tons of rice and 300,000 tons of fertilizer, a request that was flatly turned down as the president of the South Korean Red Cross informed the North that issues involving large-scale aid should be discussed between government authorities.

Starting from May 24, the government banned all exchanges with the North, except for those with humanitarian purposes, until North Korea takes earnest measures to resolve the Cheonan incident. But after its attempt to extort a massive aid package from the South was thwarted, it now attempts to end the stalemate with its latest pronouncement.

North Korea’s latest words herald that it will continue to counterattack and propagandize down the road.

It is very regrettable that North Korea is sticking to its old habit of resorting to counteraction. We are dumbfounded by their brazen behavior. We hope that the North will recover its conscience and give us the apology we deserve.
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