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Investigation and Allegation

Posted June. 17, 2010 12:52,   


Austria, along with Switzerland, is a permanently neutral country as recognized by the international community. Austria declared its neutrality after regaining sovereignty in 1945, having been jointly controlled by the U.S., Soviet Union, Britain and France after World War II. The central European country established diplomatic relations with South Korea in 1963 and with North Korea in 1974. Austria has generally been neutral without leaning toward either of the two Koreas.

The two Koreas each presented briefings at the U.N. Security Council Monday on the torpedo attack that sank the South Korean naval vessel Cheonan. Austrian Ambassador to the U.N. Thomas Mayr-Harting said Seoul’s convincing briefing was made after a thorough investigation, while Pyongyang simply made allegations without objective explanations. French Ambassador to the U.N. Gerard Araud said the North’s argument was unconvincing. China and Russia, which are hesitant to support sanctions on the North due to their diplomatic interests, could not side with the North, either.

The definition of investigation is “a thorough, detailed and often official inquiry into, or examination of, something or someone.” That of allegation is “an unsupported claim, statement or assertion.” The Austrian ambassador’s comment shows how the global community views the Cheonan sinking. Still, it is questionable if Pyongyang will be pushed to a corner or pro-North Korea groups in South Korea will change. The Greek philosopher Plato said that when engaged in an argument, one who belongs to a particular faction shows no interest in the right answer but merely tries to carry on his point.

A healthy society has people accepting and respecting objective facts despite their differing views. South Korea cannot become an advanced country if those with their own agenda make irresponsible allegations that many people believe. Business management guru Peter Drucker said changing a man who refuses to realize a reality different from his expectations requires shattering the wrong expectations to make him admit what he expected did not happen. It is time for the Republic of Korea to agonize how to correct the dangerous recognition of certain parts of its society that cling to false allegations and reject the results of an objective and scientific investigation.

Editorial Writer Kwon Sun-hwal (shkwon@donga.com)