An unsuitable ministerUnification Minister Kim Yeon-chul described South Korea and the United States as “provocative forces” during a discussion at the Korea Press Center. When asked about North Korea’s threat to take “a new path” unless the United States comes up with a “new calculation” for denuclearization, he said that phrase means reinforcing its deterrence against South Korea and the United States through various types of short-range missiles. His answer translates into an argument that it is South Korea and the United States that provoke North Korea.
Such weird logic can only help justify Pyongyang’s constant missile provocations despite the United Nations Security Council’s strict ban on its launch of ballistic missiles.
We are dumbfounded at his logic. How can South Korea and the United States be “provocative forces” and how can the North’s countless firing of missiles be legitimate? North Korea always provoked us as clearly seen in its sinking of our Cheonan corvette in March 2010, its shelling of Yeonpyeong Island in November 2010, and its injuring of two South Korean soldiers by planting land mines along the demilitarized zone. We have no need to go back to the 1950-53 Korean War or Pyongyang’s dispatching of armed guerillas to attack the Blue House in 1968.
North Korea has even threatened South Korea by posting a pugnacious video footage titled “Did you forget the Yeonpyeong attack?” on one of its propaganda outlets. The North’s shelling of the island on the maritime border in the West Sea left two of our marines and two civilians dead. The latest warning heralds another serious provocation toward South Korea.
Unification Minister Kim did not make his remarks haphazardly. When two North Koreans defected to South Korea in November, he repatriated them against their will within six days. If defection is not granted by the National Intelligence Service, defectors are entitled to raise objection to the unification minister within 90 days by the law.
And yet Kim helped send them back. He attributed their repatriation to a decision by the National Security Office in the Blue House.
That’s not all. After North Korea vowed to destroy South Korean facilities on Mount Kumgang, Kim went on to stress the need for the South to cooperate with the North to develop the Wonsan region if North Korea accepts it. We wonder what country he represents.
The government of Moon Jae-in must replace him as soon as possible.
JoongAng Ilbo, Dec. 4, Page 34