A betrayal of the peoplePresident Moon Jae-in has finally expressed his regrets about the brutal killing last week of a South Korean fisheries official by North Korean soldiers on the West Sea. “Regardless of how the victim moved into North Korea’s territorial waters,” Moon extended his “deep condolences and consolation to him.” Moon’s remarks came six days after the tragic incident, which took place last Tuesday. But the president did not apologize for his government’s response to the case.
The essence of the mishap is a homicide of a South Korean citizen by North Korean military. Yet Moon tries to portray it as a case of defection while on duty. He was even flattered by a weak apology delivered by the United Front Department of North Korea on Kim Jong-un’s behalf, as seen in his comment that “such a swift apology from North Korea carries a special meaning.” We are astounded to hear the president — who vowed to protect the people’s lives in his inaugural ceremony three years ago — make such a ludicrous statement after the murder of an unarmed civilian by North Korea.
Moon went on to express his desire to take advantage of the case to move toward dialogue to improve inter-Korean relations. He also expressed hopes to restore the military communication lines between South and North Korea. We wonder why the president turns a deaf ear to the people’s rage. His comments were immediately followed by public outbursts on social media.
After the official was brutally shot to death by North Korean soldiers on Sept. 22, the president did nothing except preside over a security ministers meeting in the Blue House on Sept. 27 — 113 hours after the tragedy. Even after being briefed about the incident 10 hours after his death, Moon did not attend two meetings among related ministers and instead watched a musical performance Thursday at an online theater in Gimpo, Gyeonggi. Moon’s act of not giving any orders to the military constitutes a dereliction of duty. He cannot avoid the public outrage that the victim was ignored by the government.
The reaction from the National Assembly also should be criticized. Both the ruling and opposition parties on Monday attempted to adopt a resolution to denounce North Korea, but they failed after the ruling Democratic Party (DP) refused to include the phrase “North Korea burned the corpse.” Nevertheless, DP lawmakers abruptly submitted resolutions to declare an end to the Korean War and urge the government to allow individual tours to North Korea. Facing resistance from the opposition, the two resolutions are in limbo.
An effort to exploit a misfortune for political gain translates to a betrayal of public trust. Could they represent the people?