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Rising voices to lift May 24 sanction against N. Korea

Posted October. 13, 2014 03:58,   


Since three North Korean high-level officials’ visit to Inchon, some politicians have been raising their voices to lift up the May 24 sanction against North Korea, which the South Korean government has been applying since North Korean torpedo sank South Korean warship 1,220-ton Cheonan. New Politics Alliance for Democracy (NPAD) Rep. Kim Seong-gon said, “It is highly likely that North Korea is held responsible for (the sinking of the Cheonan), but it is hard to conclude it’s all 100-percent the fault of North Korea.” Another NAPD Rep. Sim Jae-kwon underscored, “It is necessary to lift up the May 24 sanctions to establish amicable mood before the South-North high-level meeting.”

Among the Saenuri party leadership, increasing number of lawmakers are speaking in one voice with the main opposition party over the sanction. Rep. Nah Kyung-won said, “Is it appropriate to stick with the May 24 sanction, which is nothing but a shell? Rather, it is better to lift up.” Saenuri Rep. Kim Tae-ho also pointed out, “President Park Geun-hye’s ‘Dresden initiative,’ which is based on building infrastructure for livelihood in North Korea, contradicts the May 24 sanction in many aspects. President Park must take a big stride, being generous to North Korea with mother’s heart.” Against such backdrops, any politicians who claim to hold the May 24 sanctions may be criticized for narrow-mindedness taking care of only empty shells.

If the inter-Korean high-level meeting is resumed and if the two Koreas agree to put their heads together to find solutions for all tangled issues, both Koreas may be able to discuss on the May 24 sanction and the resumption of tours to the Mount Kumgang resort. However, North Korea has never made an apology for sinking of the Cheonan, the main cause for the May 24 sanction, or any words of assurance to prevent reoccurrence of similar cases. If we treat the May 24 sanction like an ugly duckling, we may end up with kicking a lever in relations with the North.

If South Korea gives exoneration to North Korea, which denies the investigation results of international joint investigation team and has never expressed regrets over the sunken warship, the loss sustained by companies that have invested in North Korea will be nothing to be compared to the loss to be incurred in national defense. In an opinion poll jointly conducted by the Dong-A Ilbo and the Asan Institute for Policy Studies, 44.4 percent of the respondents said, "I don’t know" when asked about whether it is necessary to lift up the May 24 sanction. The ratio was higher than "Yes" (31.5 percent) and "No" (23.5 percent). It displays the public`s lack of an understanding on the sanction itself, indifference or postponement of judgment. It feels like we lost 46 soldiers on the sunken Cheonan a few days ago, but many people seem to have developed amnesia to forget the painful memory already.