Fatal obsessionOn Thursday, President Moon Jae-in once again called for a declaration of an end to the Korean War. That would mark the beginning of peace on the Korean Peninsula, he said. His remarks came 15 days after he made the same call in a video speech to the United Nations General Assembly on Sept. 23. The president had pressed ahead with that address even after one of our fisheries officials was fatally shot by North Korean soldiers on the Yellow Sea. Moon tried to avoid any responsibility for the tragic death of the official by portraying his crossing of the maritime border as a case of defection.
As a result, the murdered official’s son, a high school student, sent a handwritten letter to Moon asking if the president would react that way if the tragedy had occurred in his family. In a reply, Moon expressed his regrets and said he shared the pain of the bereaved family, saying, it should hold any judgement until it sees the results of a Coast Guard probe of the case.
Even before the family’s tears have dried, Moon is promoting an end-to-the war declaration and greater cooperation with North Korea. Yoo Seong-min, former leader of an opposition party, criticized Moon for being engrossed in the issue of the declaration for the sake of “fake peace” despite the brutal killing of one of our citizens.
No one opposes peace. But appropriate steps should be taken on any path to peace. North Korea still continues enriching nuclear materials and possesses 20 to 60 nuclear weapons. A rush to a declaration under such circumstances would only hurt international sanctions — arguably the only means to curb the North’s nuclear armaments — and force them to lose momentum. That’s not all. The leftist forces in South Korea will undoubtedly demand the United Nations Command and U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) be dismantled immediately as the danger of war has disappeared.
In that case, North Korea will become even more high-handed. An end-of-war declaration will only lead to our insecurity and the North’s emergence as a nuclear power.
With nearly one and a half years left in his term, Moon wants to leave a monumental legacy. But he must not ignore the public’s rage over the cruel slaughter of an unarmed South Korean citizen. Moon must squarely face the reality that both North Korea and America have given a cold reaction to his proposal.
Moon must denounce North Korea’s killing of our citizen, console the bereaved family and demonstrate a determination to prevent such a mishap in the future. He must make Pyongyang realize that peace on the peninsula can only be achieved after its denuclearization. There is no other way.