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[Editorial] Their Own Understanding of Yellow Sea Engagement

[Editorial] Their Own Understanding of Yellow Sea Engagement

Posted July. 08, 2002 00:58,   


The report on the Yellow Sea Engagement by the Ministry of Defense (MOD) was only for finding ways to salvage those responsible, disappointing us a lot. Despite the number of 24 casualties, for example, the report praised, “It was an operation wherein our determination and prompt response successfully defended the Northern Limit Line (NLL).” The MOD also stressed in the report “more than 30 casualties” the North ALLEGEDLY sustained. But all we get from the report is a whole bunch of empty exaggeration. A report like this simply ends up amplifying the public’s mistrust in the top brass.

First of all, in this report we can’t find any efforts by the MOD to learn from the top brass’ misjudgment and misinterpretation of intelligence and information. Prior to June 29, the North had already sent enough signals of what would happen in the near future. They continuously breached down the NLL. But the top brass ignored these and stuck to the passive rules of engagement. We do not know whether this stemmed from the incompetence or political consideration by them. In either way, they simply let us down.

The MOD conceded that there was confusion in making decisions. Still, the MOD evaluated their responses appropriate as a whole. But we do not feel convinced by the excuse that it was first reported that 5 solders were wounded, not “killed.” It’s like saying that 5 casualties can only allow us to wage a war. If 5 are wounded, it’s too small a damage to do so. In a nutshell, the MOD is pulling our leg.

We do feel good since the clash did not spill into a war. We have shown strong opposition against any outbreak of a war on the Korean Peninsula. But the MOD forgets a proposition pre-supposing war deterrence: it can be achieved only through building up and maintaining strong readiness. In this respect, the report is a total failure in that it does not contain ways to respond better with basis on a thorough analysis of the circumstances involving the Yellow Sea Engagement.

The report is also significant since it provides data for our government’s future policies toward the North. We wonder what kind of policies can be produced with the investigation like this.