No time for platitudes

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No time for platitudes

President Moon Jae-in will hold a nationally-televised “Conversation with the People” on MBC at 8 pm on Tuesday. It takes the form of a town hall meeting with 300 selected audience members. Starting the second half of his five-year term on Nov. 9, Moon has pledged to strengthen his communication with the public, as he showed in a meeting with leaders of the ruling and opposition parties. We hope Moon also has an effective dialogue in the studio.

Moon’s governance over the past two and a half years has fallen short of public expectations as he has been bent on running the nation with the help of a small inner circle. We hope he admits his policy mistakes of the past and shares a vision for a better future.

The country faces a plethora of challenges at home and abroad. Policy failures were mostly caused by the government’s misjudgments on economic, diplomatic and security issues, as seen in its relentless push for “income-led” growth and a phasing out of nuclear energy. As a result, economic growth has stalled along with exports and investment, and many jobs were lost.

Its “all-in” policy toward North Korea should be corrected. As our alliance with the United States is weakened to the extent of Washington threatening a possible pullout of U.S. troops from the country, security concerns are rapidly deepening. Without any tangible sign of the denuclearization of North Korea, the government steadfastly adheres to terminating the General Security of Military Information Agreement (Gsomia) with Japan, a military pact helping counter North Korean nuclear and missile threats. Moon must address growing public doubts about what really went wrong in the National Security Council and present a blueprint for a brighter future.

The government has been engrossed with rooting out what it calls “past evils.” Yet it applied double standards in the case of former Justice Minister Cho Kuk. Moon must apologize for his repeated appointment fiascos.

Communication does not rest on flowery rhetoric but on a sincere attitude and listening to what others say. Moon must not forget that his approval rating has dropped after a couple of press conferences in the past. He has little time left until he finishes his term in the Blue House. As the country has been heading in the wrong direction during the first half of his term, Moon must change course. If he sticks to failed policies, he can never create “a country we have never experienced.”

JoongAng Ilbo, Nov. 19, Page 34
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