No mere gaffes

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No mere gaffes

 Ruling Democratic Party (DP) Rep. Song Young-gil has raised serious questions about his suitability to be chairman of the National Assembly’s Foreign, Security and Unification Committee. It is bewildering how a five-term lawmaker could have such a twisted and poor understanding of history and world affairs.

In a recent interview, Song defamed the United Nations Command (UNC) as being “rootless” and a kind of auxiliary to the U.S. Forces in South Korea. He argued that the UNC should be stopped from “interfering with inter-Korean affairs.” Either he is ignorant of historic affairs or should be asked his exact intentions for making such controversial comments.

The UNC was established through a UN Security Council resolution in July 1950 following the outbreak of the Korean War on June 25. Under the resolution, 22 UN member countries sent troops, military equipment and medical professionals. The United States, with the largest number of soldiers, was given command and the use of the UN flag. After the wartime command was handed over to the U.S. Forces Korea (USFK), the UNC peacetime duties were narrowed to watching over the Joint Security Area in the Truce village of Panmunjom and other roles defined in the Armistice Agreement.

If the UN Security Council resolution is not a root, what is? Is Song defying Defense Minister Jeong Kyeong-doo, who credited the UNC for the triumph in the Korean War and the development of South Korea? What allowed him to say the UNC must stay out of inter-Korean affairs?

A few days earlier, Chairman Song said the U.S.-South Korea Working Group on North Korea should not act as if “it is a colonial supervisor of Korean affairs.” It is not appropriate to liken an inter-government body set up to jointly address North Korean denuclearization to the Japanese colonial government of Korea. Such blusterous nonsense should not come from a top representative of our legislature on foreign affairs.

Song also caused international disgrace by speaking lightly of a case in which a Korean diplomat was accused of molesting a male staffer at the Korean Embassy in New Zealand. “Don’t we make friendly pats on the hips and stomachs among men?” he said. “New Zealand is open to same-gender relationship.” He apologized after his comments became a source of diplomatic friction with New Zealand.

Soon after he was appointed head of the foreign and security affairs committee in June, Song also came under fire for an overly casual observation about the North Korean demolition of the inter-Korean liaison office in Kaesong. “At least it did not shell the building,” he said. We wonder whose country he really represents. His position should be reconsidered if he keeps up putting his foot in his mouth.

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