Go to contents

[Editorial] The Unification Minister’s Absurd Remarks

Posted May. 18, 2007 03:14,   


Unification Minister Lee Jae-jung said that the Korean public has not made much effort to promote or maintain peace since the Korean War, at the South-North Economic Cooperation Forum held a day before yesterday. He also stressed that the test-run of cross-border railways is the first step toward peace on the Korean peninsula.

His remarks are an insult to 48 million South Koreans. His logic downplays the free and democratic Republic of Korea achieved by our forefathers who died defending this nation from an invasion by North Korea, led by Kim Il Sung under the auspices of the Soviet Union.

For what, if not to maintain peace, have the servicemen and reservists served until now, and even at this moment, since the foundation of the Korean military? Though he was exempted from mandatory military service because of his high blood pressure, Minister Lee has no military experience whatsoever to defend this country.

Most Koreans are true advocates for peace as they work day and night at their workplaces, small or big, nationwide, to develop Korea into the 12th largest economy in the world. Thanks to their sacrifice and hard work, Korea is enjoying peace even in the shadow of nuclear-armed North Korea. Minister Lee has no right to make such remarks. His profile reveals that he has little experience in social activities as a member of political circles except for time spent as a clergyman and as vice chair of the National Unification Advisory Council under the current administration.

He was once found guilty for running errands related to illegal election fund-raising. Who is talking “peace” and “regret” to whom under such circumstances?

He might think he made a huge contribution to peace through the inter-Korean railways, but he shouldn’t. The one-time test-run cost taxpayers 545.4 billion won. For all their economic difficulties and poor livelihoods, the public have willingly shouldered the burden. They deserve much more than the minister’s absurd remarks.

Furthermore, this is not the first time Lee has humiliated the public, as he once accused people critical of the government’s aid to the North as stinginess over the cost of “less than a daily breakfast meal of an average South Korean.”

Ironically, it was Lee who confused the public’s sense of security by consistently equivocating on questions associated with Kim Il Sung and his responsibility for the invasion of South Korea during the Korean War in his ministerial confirmation hearing last November.