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[Editorial] Bush Makes an Official Apology

Posted November. 27, 2002 23:07,   


US President George W. Bush delivered an official apology for the deaths of two school girls. It has a significant meaning in that he provided a key to quell the ever-mounting anti-American sentiment in Korea. Although belated, it is still fortunate that President Bush understands the anger of the Korean public, which has spiraled after two US soldiers were found not guilty. This is the first time the US president made an apology for an accident involving US soldiers stationed in Korea.

Now is time for the Korean and US governments to pull together their wisdoms to settle the discord between the two countries and to prevent such incidents from recurring. President Bush`s promise to closely coordinate with the Korean government to prevent such incident from happening again should not end up as a mere rhetoric. Both governments should consider revising the State of Forces Agreement (SOFA), which is unfavorable to Korea.

The US should figure out why it has failed to calm down the anger of the Korean public when the US ambassador to Korea, the chief of staff, the commander in chief and even State Secretary Colin Powell made apologies to the Korean people for the deaths of two teenagers. The US should recognize the fact that the accumulated pile of misdeeds by US soldiers in Korea made the Korean people turn away from them.

There are still many things for the Korean government to do. The government should feel ashamed for the fact that the power of the media, not the government, pressed US President Bush to make an apology. But it is the government, not the media to turn the words from President Bush into deeds. The public will watch the government closely to see if it can do its share or not.

In addition, demonstrators should contain themselves. Violent and illegal acts such as breaking in US military bases will not be of any help to solve the problem. Their violent acts amid the reconciliatory mood could make things worse. Thus required at this time is not expressing their anger but closely monitoring the US to see if they really make efforts. The deaths of two girls dealt a serious blow to the relations between Korean and the US. Hopefully, the relations between Korean and the US will be closer with President Bush`s apology and promise for the better.