Where is Moon’s dream team?
The author is an editorial writer at the JoongAng Ilbo.
President Moon Jae-in said that groundless fake news and exaggerated forecasts increase uncertainty, along with an optimistic view on a healthy economy. On the same day, the ruling party asked the government to increase next year’s budget to 530 trillion won ($438 billion) because of the serious economic conditions. Is the Democratic Party’s fuss fake news or not?
On the South Korea-Japan dispute, Second Deputy Director of the National Security Office Kim Hyun-chong asked why he would ask the United States to mediate when it would lead to a bill and said that once you ask for help, South Korea will become a pushover. U.S. President Donald Trump said that Moon had asked him to get involved, and he would if Japan asked too. Is South Korea a global pushover or not?
The day after Moon said that inter-Korean talks were in progress in various channels, North Korea said that there hasn’t been any. When South Korea proposed a peace economy, North Korea launched a missile. Former Unification Minister Jeong Se-hyun said that North Korea was making new weapons for post-denuclearization, adding that the North was willing to denuclearize. Will North Korea really abandon its nuclear program? Is it torture to give false hope?
The real concerns are these questions. North Korean nuclear abandonment doesn’t seem to be happening, and the U.S. President ignores North Korean missiles because it is aiming at South Korea. While fighting against Japan, China and Russia are trespassing on South Korean airspace. The military seems confused. The domestic economy is ruined, but everyone is talking about Justice minister nominee Cho Kuk.
I thought Cho as justice minister, which was unexpected, was a move the Blue House was abandoning. The Blue House surely knew about the allegations. So nominating Cho could be an attempt to cover up current issues and change the conversation. At any rate, discontent over government risks such as replacing the diplomatic and security teams has changed to an argument over Cho’s nomination.
But Cho is still here. If you ask people to forget, the idea is to cover up the faults so far. But this government doesn’t seem to be aware that the administration is in trouble. The Blue House is conducting a government PR status survey on ministries related to North Korea, Japan and the economy. It also played the blame game, saying that the global economy is sluggish, so it is frustrating when people ask why the South Korean economy is slow.
Two years ago, when the Abe cabinet was in trouble, “forget it reshuffles” were fashionable. Abe attempted to renew his popularity with cabinet reshuffles when he was about to collapse due to the Kake School scandal. He created centripetal force with the politics of confrontation and after the cabinet reshuffle, he kept a low profile. At least, he pretended to. But the reshuffle of the Moon administration is different.
The administration thinks it is flawless and blames others and the media. They laugh at and threaten the media, saying that when Admiral Yi Sun-shin said his enemies should not be told of his death, the media would have reported, “Yi Sun-shin instigates lies, it was revealed.”
But let’s really think about it. If Cho had verified someone with the allegations he was suspected of when he was presidential secretary for civil affairs, would he recommend that person as a ministerial candidate? How about the ministers remaining in office?
Personnel decisions are everything. The failures of the previous administration started from former President Park Geun-hye appointing people from her little black notebook. The Lee Myung-bak administration was shaken as former President Lee appointed a cabinet full of people who shared his connections from Korea University, Somang Church or the Yeongnam region.
Arrogance and self-righteousness that the administration has done nothing wrong cannot bring about a new start. It is also hard to escape a country that can be shaken by anyone. There is something to learn from Abe, who the government looks down on. Abe broke through trouble with the “forget-it reshuffle.”
By now, the Moon administration should have a new cabinet. His pledge to do better in the future and repentance acknowledging past faults should have come first. Moon promised a dream team and a government of integration. Where is it? If this lineup is the dream team, I don’t know how he can make a country that is worthy of being a country.
JoongAng Ilbo, Aug. 23, Page 30