Deep soul-searching needed for the DP

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Deep soul-searching needed for the DP

After firing 12 missiles into the East Sea and the Pacific on seven occasions over the past two weeks, North Korea overtly threatens to use nuclear weapons just like Russian President Vladimir Putin. Leading a recent test of using tactical nukes, North Korea leader Kim Jong-un emphasized that the launches send his enemies a clear message on “our resolute nuclear preparedness” and “our capability to launch a nuclear attack.” Earlier, Pyongyang legislated the option of a preemptive nuclear attack on its enemies.

Under such grim circumstances, the Democratic Party’s (DP) reaction to the mounting nuclear threat from North Korea dumbfounds us. The supermajority party, which has 169 seats in the 300-member National Assembly, never denounces North Korea for its unceasing provocations and instead is engrossed with criticizing South Korea-U.S.-Japan security cooperation through its signature “pro-Japanese posture” frame.

In an emergency meeting on Tuesday to deal with the security crisis, DP Chairman Lee Jae-myung made a series of remarks after the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Forces participated in a drill in the East Sea to effectively counter nuclear attacks from North Korea. “One day, the Rising Sun Flag could be hoisted in the Korean Peninsula,” he said. Lee also criticized the joint exercise as if a military alliance was already established among South Korea, the U.S. and Japan.

Lee branded the maritime drills and the General Status of Military Information Agreement (Gsomia) between Seoul and Tokyo as a “repeat of the move to boost Japan’s military interests” whenever a conservative administration takes power in Korea. He wondered why the three governments had decided to conduct such a drill so suddenly.

But it was the Moon Jae-in administration that elevated the security cooperation to the highest level. The liberal administration also left the Gsomia intact. And yet, when the DP is attacked for its ideology-driven perspective, it counterattacks the conservatives through the “pro-Japanese” paradigm.

Earlier, DP floor leader Park Hong-geun claimed that the maritime drill had taken place in waters near the Dokdo islets. But actually, the military exercise was conducted on the high seas closer to Japan than to Dokdo.

The liberal administrations under presidents Kim Dae-jung, Roh Moo-hyun and Moon Jae-in steadfastly denied North Korea’s ability or will to develop nuclear weapons. Moon even vowed to the international community that Kim Jong-un is determined to denuclearize.

But such a laidback attitude only helped North Korea buy time to advance its nuclear capabilities. If the DP had been normal, it would have changed it. Lamentable is the party’s adherence to its pro-North stance and counterattacks on the conservatives through its treasured “pro-Japanese” stigmatization.
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