A test of our resolveWith the entire world closely watching the Korean Peninsula, our military conducted a drill in the waters off Yeonpyeong Island as scheduled. The exercise was aimed at preparing the nation for additional military provocations from North Korea by fully utilizing the capabilities of our armed forces and the ROK-U.S. Combined Command. With the possibility of a counterattack in mind, the North Koreans didn’t dare provoke us again. But all the branches of our military are on high alert to fully respond to any future aggression by North Korea.
The artillery drill was part of our regular exercises, which the nation has conducted 10 times annually for almost 40 years.
It’s very rare for the entire world to observe the routine drill so closely.
Because of the heightened concerns over the situation on the peninsula, North Korea may have succeeded in calling the world’s attention to its attempts to nullify the Northern Limit Line (NLL) by drastically raising tensions.
But the drill is absolutely necessary to preempt malicious moves by the North, especially after two Marines and two civilians were killed by the North’s latest bombardment of Yeonpyeong Island. The South Korean government had to send a strong message to North Korea and the international community that if Pyongyang provokes us again, it will pay a hefty price. We believe that the exercise successfully accomplished that goal by demonstrating our unflinching resolve to protect our own territory no matter what.
But the North will most likely launch another provocation in the near future. Therefore, our military, the government and citizens should be awakened to North Korea’s rekindled belligerence.
The military must prove that the North’s threats to retaliate against the South are just empty words. Needless to say, North Korea cannot go to war with its counterpart as long as we maintain our resolve to fight back.
Now our government faces a daunting challenge. First, it should do its best to support the military’s capability by reforming it. The government should also allow the military to devote itself to its original mission of maintaining our national security. The recent crisis explicitly shows that an escalation of confrontations between the two Koreas will not die out soon. But when we make the North realize that all its aggressiveness is in vain, the situation will change much earlier than expected so that we can stabilize the peninsula and unify our divided land.