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[Editorial] Improper Procedure of NLL Amendment

Posted June. 17, 2001 09:51,   


The government is reportedly preparing for a general revision related to the military engagement rules and wartime regulations in the NLL area of the West and East Seas. It seems like the South government raised a white flag, responding to the intrusion of North Korea to the South territory and the NLL.

There is some truth that the South Navy complains that it is virtually impossible to protect perfectly the wide sea areas including the waters within 42.5 miles in the West and 218 miles in the East Sea respectively. The problem lies in the context, time, and the government postures that have had no principle.

In fact, the North has repeatedly claimed the invalidity of the NLL. The South government, who had maintained the position of `No amendment of the NLL,` is quickly preparing a general revision on responding to the criticism to the passive treatment of the North Korean NLL violation.

The South Korean Navy has defended the NLL to the last for past forty years in the special circumstances of the divided Korean peninsula. Therefore, the change of the divided situation must precede the change of the NLL. The proper procedure is to change the NLL after the systemization of a considerable improvement in the inter-Korean exchanges and cooperation and the establishment of the military credibility. The reduction of the NLL area forced by the North Korean violation betrays the sovereignty and honor of the nation.

The security view of the ruling party and the government need to be checked. For example, responding to the indication of the opposition lawmakers that the South Military has passively treated the North Korean violation of the NLL, Rep. Lee Hae-Chan, the chairperson of the Policy Committee of NMDP asserted that, ``if [ROK Navy] had fired, the national economy would have collapsed.`` It is a naïve exaggeration. There is an illogical jump to understand `the active response` as `fire` and in consequence as the war. Even if his exaggeration is accepted, does it mean that he is only concerns about the economic collapse, ignoring the security collapse?

The plan of the Defense Security Command to summon and investigate an aide of the opposition lawmaker, who released the radio communication between the North commercial ships and the South Navy, is an unrefined idea. It is questionable that the content of the communication, which shows that the South begging for the North to move out of the South territory, can be a national secret in any sense. When the North already knows the content, to whom is the content secret?

Everything has its own proper procedure. The government and the ruling party have to cope with the priorities before they can change the engagement rules in the NLL area.