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[Editorial] President Roh’s Careless Remarks

Posted October. 13, 2007 07:03,   


President Roh Moo-hyun’s remarks in yesterday’s press conference clearly revealed his view of nationalism and North Korea. However, we cannot believe that those were the words from the president of the Republic of Korea, who represents 48 million citizens. Did he happen to unveil his left leaning, pro-North Korean inclinations that he has concealed in the past? Or was it part of his plan to provoke ideological disputes and divide political groups in an attempt to influence the fate of the upcoming presidential election. If not, was it a political scheme to trigger another round of impeachment proceedings in hopes of enjoying the “fun” he had last time? The truth seems to lie between such questions.

President Roh described North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, “He is very well informed of state affairs and seems to have a strong conviction and confidence with the system. He truly deserves to be called ‘a man of power.’” We cannot accept someone who praises a tyrant who tramples on the human rights of 23 million people and makes many of them starve to death as the president of Korea. But why is this competent and confident leader begging the world and taking a nuclear gamble without being able to provide the basic necessities of life to the people?

“Kim Jong Il said, ‘We don’t have intentions to possess nuclear weapons. It’s the final instruction (of the late North Korean leader Kim Il Sung),’” President Roh told the media as if he were confirming the North’s willingness to give up its nuclear ambitions. However, Roh does not even seem to know what the actual final instruction of the late North Korean leader was. The late Kim called for the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. He did not point his fingers to the North’s nuclear weapons but rather, he pointed to those of South Korea. In other words, the late communist leader demanded the South to remove the nuclear umbrella that the U.S. provides. Despite all that, Roh was apparently impressed by Kim Jong Il’s same old worn-out rhetoric.

President Roh also said, “I believe that the North wouldn’t like South Korea to meddle in the nuclear issue and repeatedly mention the details already included in the Joint Declaration on the Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. So I mentioned them briefly in the declaration.”

Everyone in the country wished that Roh would have brought up the nuclear issue and returned with a definite answer from the North. But he obviously kept his mouth shut when he really needed to speak up and completely ignored the expectations of the public. Does the president have the right to do that?

With regard to declaring the end of war on the Korean Peninsula by three of four leaders of the involved countries mentioned in the October 4 South-North Joint Declaration, President Roh said, “Frankly, I also don’t have a clear idea what the term ‘three or four parties’ means. I found the expression when I was revising the statement. I asked about it but he said the expression was given by the North. So I passed it without giving much thought.” Such behavior is unacceptable even in the corporate world. How could the head of the state sign a declaration on which the fate of the nation depends without even knowing what it meant? It is a severe dereliction of duty that calls for his impeachment.

With regard to the Northern Limit Line (NLL), Roh said, “That’s not a territorial line on the constitution and was not drawn with the agreement of the Koreas.” We can hardly believe our ears. Is he trying to remove the NLL that our soldiers have protected by risking their lives for the more than a half century? Who will then be responsible for the defense of the capital area? Roh’s remarks have far exceeded a level of understanding and embracing of the North. We cannot help but feel anxious about what he will say in his remaining four-month term.