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[Editorial] A Failing Foreign Policy

Posted September. 23, 2006 03:55,   


Moon Jeong-in, a professor of Yonsei University and the Foreign Ministry’s special ambassador on international security, said Thursday that the Korean government has completely failed in foreign policy with four major nations. “The government has not only failed in serving national interests with the U.S., China, Russia and Japan but also failed in maintaining sound relations with them,” Moon said.

Professor Moon, often called on as a private tutor of President Roh Moo-hyun, exerted great influence in establishing the incumbent administration’s key foreign policies. Experts point out that much of the “independent foreign policy” and “Northeast Asia’s balance theory” were made based on his ideas. He has also been refuting the criticism of former top diplomats, police chiefs and defense ministers in regard to the “independent foreign policy.

Analysts say Moon’s admonition over the foreign policies signifies his apology on the incompetent foreign policy of the administration. This reminds us of what Paul Kennedy said during an interview with Dong-A Ilbo: “Korea is an ant surrounded by four elephants, the U.S., China, Japan, and Russia. So, Korea should be alert and consider ways to enhance its diplomatic capacity.”

“Korean government has given everything the U.S. wanted. However, there is still negative public opinion (on Korea) due to differences in views regarding North Korea. Korea has been excluded from U.S.- North Korea relations,” Moon said. Korea has done the U.S. all the favors such as the dispatch of Korean troops to Iraq and permission for strategic flexibility of U.S. forces in Korea, but has not been able to hear words of appreciation from the U.S. because of anti-U.S. and pro-North Korea movement in Korea.

Moon also criticized the Korean government, saying it did not properly respond to Japan’s ambition to become a military power through a strengthened military alliance with the U.S. Moon also said that top Chinese government officials are tuning their backs against Korea. When North Korea leader Kim Jong Il visited China, the Chinese government did not properly inform the details of Kim’s visit to the Korean government. He also stated that Korea has not achieved any tangible progress with Russia, either.

Overall, the incumbent administration’s failure in foreign policy with the four countries can be found in its disrespect on “diplomatic logic” and its attempts to resolve everything “between ourselves.” President Roh’s administration must wake up from his illusion of Korea’s self-reliance and restore the devastated diplomatic ties with the four major powers during his remaining one and a half year term.