Get over the hot-mic moment

Home > Opinion > Columns

print dictionary print

Get over the hot-mic moment

Yeh Young-june
The author is an editorial writer for the JoongAng Ilbo.

It’s nothing new that North Korea fires missiles one after another. But the latest provocation is clearly different from the past pattern. In the past, the North used belligerent rhetoric and staged armed provocations before the Korea-U.S. joint military exercises yet remained quiet once the drill started. Behind the pattern was the North’s fear that U.S. strategic assets deployed on the Korean Peninsula for the exercise may target the North for a strike. During the 2018 inter-Korean summit, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un told then South Korean President Moon Jae-in, “I will refrain from doing things that will wake you up early in the morning to summon a National Security Council meeting.” That was an empty promise. But the joint drill was a substantial fear for the recalcitrant regime in Pyongyang.

But this time, North Korea fired ballistic missiles while the Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group was conducting maritime drills with the South Korean navy. North Korea seems to think, “How dare you touch a nuclear-armed state?” The military authorities of the South and the U.S. probably had difficult time evaluating and responding to this unprecedented situation. It is not a stretch that some experts are worrying that the existing deterrence strategy is no longer effective.

Furthermore, North Korea is ready to conduct a submarine-launched ballistic missile test and its seventh nuclear test to show the strength of its tactical nuclear warheads. The North is at the final stage of securing a “game changer.” 
Lawmakers from the Democratic Party stage a rally in the National Assembly to denounce the Yoon Suk-yeol administration for its diplomatic fumbles and political oppression. [JOONGANG PHOTO]

On the other hand, South Korea is facing an extremely serious crisis. At the Armed Forces’ Day ceremony on October 1, the military revealed a new missile to issue a warning to North Korea. But it is unclear whether the warning will work. Activation of the extended deterrence is key to defending against the North, but we have to calculate more meticulously if that will be enough. We must reconsider the response strategy fundamentally by mulling all possible options, including sharing nuclear weapons or developing nukes. As the task is very urgent and overwhelming, President Yoon Suk-yeol and his aides must work around the clock.

A crisis approaching from one direction can be overcome when we are ready. But this time, it is a multi-directional, complex crisis. We are probably already inside an unseen perfect storm. In the past, we were able to overcome economic crises in a short period of time thanks to the massive Chinese market, but now, China is one of the epicenters of the crisis.

In a nutshell, we cannot afford the luxury of debating over President Yoon’s hot-mic moment in New York. When I have a long interview, I use a voice recognition program to make a transcript of the interview. As the automatic transcription system has improved greatly, I don’t have to revise the transcript.

So I used the program to make a transcript of Yoon’s controversial remarks in New York and the program could not recognize it. The program normally recognizes most voice records, but the program gave up making the transcript because the record could not be recognized accurately. Sound experts used more sophisticated programs, but they also had similar outcomes.

So, even if you ask the investigative authorities to probe MBC for an allegation that it had intentionally manipulated the subtitle and damaged the alliance or call for a scientific analysis, a clear conclusion will unlikely be made. The algorithm may have studied political risks through various news reports and online comments and rejected to produce an outcome.

Yoon must escape from this wasteful battle. It doesn’t even take a grand decision. He just needs to tell the truth and admit to his mistake if there was any negligence — and declare, “Starting this moment, I will stop any unnecessary political battle sand concentrate all my efforts on state affairs.”

The DP also must stop attacking Yoon recklessly. The rival parties will continue their fight because they do not know what political cooperation means, but they should find a new topic to fight over. In this muddy battle, whoever loses first will be the winner.
Log in to Twitter or Facebook account to connect
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
help-image Social comment?
lock icon

To write comments, please log in to one of the accounts.

Standards Board Policy (0/250자)