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[Editorial] Isn’t President Roh Trapped in Misled Information?

[Editorial] Isn’t President Roh Trapped in Misled Information?

Posted May. 26, 2005 03:31,   


There are increasing signs of an “information gap” between Korea and the U.S. The current situation is ever more serious as the Japanese vice foreign minister even said, “As the U.S. does not trust Korea, Japan is reluctant to share information with Korea.” Some even say diplomats and top government officials, including President Roh Moo-hyun, have significantly different viewpoints toward how close Korea and the U.S. are.

The Korean government says, “There is no problem,” but it is not an issue to be ignored. Policies are made based on information; exact information leads to right policies. This goes the same for security issues such as the North Korean nuclear issue, which require collaboration between Korea and the U.S. Collaboration cannot be made where different information and knowledge are taking root.

It is true that since President Roh came into office, information sharing between the two nations and mutual trust or expectations have not been as smooth as before. For example, the U.S. expressed dismay at Korea’s National Security Council’s restraints on the military operation plan, code named 5029, established in preparation for crises in North Korea. Recently, the two even came up with contrasting analyses on the possibility of North Korea’s nuclear testing.

Maybe it is partially due to loosened relations between the two after the end of the Cold War. Nevertheless, it should be mulled over whether the “tilted information” of the top officials, including President Roh, has been the root cause. It is true that U.S. officials and the media gave warning signals whenever possible on the bilateral relationship, but President Roh did not take them seriously. No matter how insightful, President Roh even called Korean diplomats dealing with U.S. issues “pro-American.” Against this backdrop, it would not be easy to report to the president on the “relaxed relationship between the two” as it is.

Albeit belated, it is imperative to give more attention to the relationship, and re-establish the information-sharing system. Even if a piece of information may be insulting or may sound uncomfortable to the opposite party, it has to be exchanged as long as it starkly shows the harsh reality. To that end, President Roh should give the impression that he is tilted to a point. It is prejudice and bias that blocks an ingenuous flow of information to the full.

It is hoped that starting the summit talks next month, the top agenda is discussed based on genuinely shared information and knowledge. By doing so, we can reduce diplomatic and security risks.