Bullying by any other nameIt is contemptible for the strong to harass the weak. The world is dirty and shabby and nasty tricks are rampant, especially around presidential-election time. The 14 self-proclaimed justice apostles — 14 lawmakers who defected from the Bareun Party to join the Liberty Korea Party — in the National Assembly last winter were nasty, and so are the movements of the United States and China over Thaad. In life and diplomacy, there is no eternal enemy or friend.
Originally, I did not include the United States in this, but I couldn’t help it after a series of absurd remarks by U.S. President Donald Trump. The controversy over Thaad is meaningless now. Thanks to the unprecedented moves by Korean and U.S. governments, deployment became an established fact.
What if President Trump actually demands Korea pay for Thaad? Then Seoul would say the United States can take it back. I am willing to pay for the withdrawal cost as a deduction from the tax I pay. China’s beating on Korea has crossed the line, and I am not surprised by Trump’s businessman-like remarks anymore. North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, whom Trump called “a pretty smart cookie,” may be the only one smiling as he punches in the numbers on a calculator.
China is busy stirring up anti-Chinese sentiment in Korea, and upon reading my column, Beijing may ban me from entering China. But whether I am banned or not, I am happy to be a citizen of Korea, and until China becomes a truly great nation, I am determined not to visit China voluntarily. I hope to visit Pyongyang, but on a direct flight. Please don’t be mistaken. I am not anti-China, and I believe relations with China need to be mended some day. On the other side of the sea is Japan, which humiliated Korea for 36 years. The burned bridge with China needs to be reconstructed, but let’s not forget what China did to Korea.
China’s overreaction over Thaad is proof that Korea is no longer a small country but has become a small yet strong nation. Korea has overcome the IMF bailout. Chinese consumers are unfortunate in that they are not able to buy quality Korean products due to the Chinese authorities’ ban. If Korean cosmetics are piling up, as they cannot be exported to China, I will buy in bulk and gift them to American, Japanese and Taiwanese friends.
In retrospect, this is Korea’s fault for electing the wrong person as president. This time, let’s make a wise choice. To those who write to me, “You are too young to know,” I want to say that my photo may look young but I have been reporting for almost 20 years. Before writing such posts, please contemplate who you should vote for to bring peace to the Korean peninsula. The election is approaching, and my heart is racing.
JoongAng Ilbo, May 5, Page 27
*The author is a reporter for the P-Project team of the JoongAng Ilbo.