Moon finally sees a threat from the North

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Moon finally sees a threat from the North

 The sincerity of messages from political leaders or even ordinary people depends on consistency. No matter how stirring the language may be, people doubt a speaker’s sincerity if their words are inconsistent. What makes us think of this are recent remarks by President Moon Jae-in — with 48 days left before his term expires.

On Tuesday, Moon stressed the significance of his responsibility as head of state to carry out what the Constitution demands from him. “There should not be any vacuum in protecting national security, the economy and public safety,” he said. Throughout a meeting with his aides, the president emphasized how unstable the situation is on the Korean Peninsula due to North Korean threats. In an earlier meeting with related ministers, Moon expressed concerns about President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol’s plan to relocate the presidential office to the Ministry of National Defense building. He said it could cause a “security vacuum at times when our defense capability should be reinforced to address a deepening security crisis in the peninsula.” His remarks are obviously aimed at putting the brakes on Yoon’s relocation plan.

At first glance, Moon’s comments seem legitimate given concerns about a possible security vacuum. But it has to be pointed out that he has made an art of keeping mum about provocations from North Korea in the past.

Even this year, the Moon administration did not define the North’s endless missile launches as “provocations” nor denounce them. Seoul repeatedly abstained from voting on UN resolutions to condemn them. After Kim Yo-jong, the sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, criticized South Korea for using the term “provocation,” senior security officials of the Moon administration toned it down to a “threat.” The government nearly kept silent even after North Korea blew up the inter-Korean liaison office in Kaesong. Even after a South Korean fisheries official was brutally killed by the North Korean navy, the government did not raise any substantial complaint.

Instead, the administration was engrossed with trying to get an end-of-war declaration by interpreting the North’s provocations as requests for dialogue. On Memorial Day, President Moon said the 1950-53 Korean War resulted from North Korean forces’ “advance to the South,” not from its aggression. The president did not attend the funeral of Korean War hero Gen. Paik Sun-yup. Instead, he said the Korean military started with Kim Won-bong, an independence fighter-turned-official in Pyongyang who helped North Korea invade South Korea.

No wonder a growing number of people attribute Moon’s last-minute transposition to the need to block the relocation of the presidential office. Any possible security vacuum must be fixed by a face-to-face meeting between Moon and Yoon, not by an embarrassing presidential grandstanding.
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