The raison d’etre of a stateSince North Korea’s artillery attack on Yeonpyeong Island, about 1,300 refugees are facing a new challenge - living in public bath houses, hospitals or their relatives’ homes.
One public bath facility suddenly turned into a shelter and now accommodates over 1,000 refugees. Since having escaped from their destroyed homes, the refugees are living a miserable life there and have to live on free meals provided by the government.
This is what is happening in South Korea, a rising economic powerhouse. What country among the hosts of the G-20 Summit would leave the situation as stark as it is without even taking care of its own citizens, who are stricken with fear and frustration? Why was there an emergency meeting in an underground bunker at the Blue House if the government wasn’t even able to arrange a temporary place for Yeonpyeong residents to stay? Even the Philippines has a plan for evacuating their migrant workers from Korea. We feel terribly ashamed of our government’s porous response to this immense crisis.
The only measure our government has come up with is an emergency plan to provide the island with 100 million won ($86,535) in aid. Island residents are suddenly lobbing complaints against the government and the city of Incheon, with the Yeonpyeong Residents Emergency Committee finally demanding that Incheon City Mayor Song Young-gil at least provide them with a temporary place to live. A total of 28 residents are still on the island, which may soon turn into a ghost town. That will surely create a domino effect with the other four islands in the tense area. It would also provide the North with a good excuse to nullify the Northern Limit Line and pave the way for further military aggression.
Fortunately, the ruling party decided today to present a special bill in the National Assembly to support the five islands in the Yellow Sea. The bill includes a proposal for a substantial economic aid package for residents that would support their permanent habitation.
Furthermore, we should transform the five islands into a military fortress via a substantial reinforcement of manpower and firepower, together with a combined defense command for the islands. The Korean Peninsula is facing its worst crisis in 60 years, stoking citizens’ concerns about the possibility of an all-out war with the North. Under these circumstances, the public can only have the courage to fight North Korean aggression when they can trust their own government. Trust is the raison d’etre of a state.