Rejecting Moon, ministry calls North an ‘enemy’
“Currently, we are in process of wrapping up work on a new edition of the defense white paper 2012,” a ministry official told the JoongAng Ilbo yesterday. “At this moment, our policy is to maintain the previous position stating North Korea as an enemy of the nation.”
On Saturday, Moon said in an interview with the JoongAng Ilbo, “In official government documents, it isn’t right to state North Korea is an enemy, such as in the defense white paper.”
The ministry publishes the white paper biennially, and it usually provokes controversy.
The latest edition, which was published right after the bloody shelling of Yeonpyeong Island, which killed four people, said, “The North Korean regime and its military is our main enemy.”
“As the military is supposed to be neutral in political affairs, we can’t argue with Moon,” the ministry official said. “Still, the fact that North Korea is the existing threat to our national security hasn’t changed and our soldiers need to be conscious of a target. So it’s natural to describe North Korea as a main enemy of the state.”
A reserve general said, “Under a previous administration, the military insisted on securing the Northern Limit Line and opposed the forming of a so-called ‘joint inter-Korean fishery area.’ But the military had to alter its position under pressure from the administration.”
However, a close aide to Moon reiterated that the expression should be withdrawn.
“Under the Roh Moo-hyun administration, the white paper said North Korea is ‘an existing threat,’ not ‘enemy of the state,’ and not a single soldier was killed,” the aide said. “However, since [the current administration] started to say Pyongyang is an enemy, some problems have occurred.”
By Jeong Yong-soo, Kim Hee-jin [firstname.lastname@example.org]