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[Editorial] Pity the Excuses of the Government

Posted March. 23, 2005 22:50,   


“A facility reserved for the president, the commander-in-chief, in a time of emergency,” responded the Ministry of Defense when asked about the use of the lodging house that it is building in Gyeryongdae, South Chungcheong Province. However, this is hard to believe.

Gyeryongdae is the enemy’s most likely target since it contains the three headquarters of the Army, Navy, and Air Force. The facility is not even built underground. Say an emergency, such as a war, breaks out. No one knows where and when artillery fire will land, and in this urgent situation, what could the president possibly do in that two-story house? A golf course is only 300 to 400 meters away from the house. As the suspicion that the building might be a villa of the president grew, the Ministry of Defense hastened to step forward to account for its use. However, it is highly questionable whether the public will accept the excuse.

The same is true for Minister of Office for Government Policy Coordination Cho Young-taek. Cho had been submitted for disciplinary punishment by the Board of Audit and Inspection (BAI) after receiving 10 million won from provincial governors in the name of helping the administrative process while serving as manager in the administrative department. Later, when he was under consideration for an appointment and this problem in the past was revealed, Cheong Wa Dae simply dismissed the objections, saying that it was a practice of that time. Isn’t the government using the word “practice” too easily and only at its convenience? Since the launch of this administration, several officials of the Cabinet have been accused of suspicions, such as real-estate speculations and their children’s nationality or military service, but they were all acquitted in the name of “practice.” It is hard to imagine the same thing would happen if they were political rivals?

When it comes to the government’s countermeasures for the Metropolitan Area Development, the excuses it produces are almost pitiful. Only months ago, the government argued that Seoul was over populated and was not a good place to live. Then, suddenly, the government is coming up with a series of measures encouraging the overpopulation of Seoul, arguing the necessity of countermeasures against hollowing of the metropolitan area. It is natural that the public is becoming more puzzled. The government also claims that the Saemangeum reclamation project needs to continue in order to provide rice aid to North Korea, another pitiful excuse. South Korea already has enough rice, which now causes problems with expensive cost for its storage. In other words, the rice aid to North Korea is sufficient enough, and the government’s claim is just an excuse to create a cause to increase the rice output.

Maybe, taxpayers are the pitiful ones because they have to endure the excuses and pay their taxes.