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NLL stress and Pyrrhic victory

Posted July. 31, 2013 06:56,   


Midday fierce debates ended and the Northern Limit Line issue was gradually being finalized. Both the ruling and opposition parties were seeking an exit strategy though the ruling Saenuri Party called for the suspension of political fight over the Northern Limit Line while the Democratic Party wanted permanent end to the debate. Both parties have been repeatedly told to stop fighting over this issue, and the latest compromise is at least consoling despite belated.

It is still a bit leery because the excuses sound too hollow. Both parties were aware of the fact that the public was sick and tired of the Northern Limit Line conflicts, but they must have weighed on gains and losses. Both forces appear to have judged to agree on a ceasefire to calm objection against the presidential election results and deal a blow on pro-Roh Moo-hyun forces who are their common enemies. Politicians said they made a huge decision to suspend the debate for the sake of the public, who is difficult to say "OK" given the stress they had received thus far.

The Northern Limit Line debate originally stemmed from the interview the Dong-A Ilbo was doing with then presidential candidate Park Geun-hye in September last year. Park said she could discuss with North Korea over establishing joint West Sea fishing route and peace water territory on condition of respecting the limit line. After two weeks, however, North Korea severely criticized Park, saying her comment is an expression of stupidity. Park wondered if there was something she wasn`t aware of, which led to ruling party lawmaker Jeong Moon-hun`s disclosure of late former President Roh Moo-hyun`s remarks on giving up Northern Limit Line.

Amid alleged illegal online posting, the National Intelligence Agency disclosed the full transcript of summit meeting minutes. However, the truth is still shrouded in fog. Besides whether former President Roh really said he would give up the Northern Limit Line, and whether he ordered discarding data, other related issues remain to be clarified.

Among them is vague attitude of foreign policy officials of the Park administration. National Intelligence Agency chief Nam Jae-joon appears to be considering Roh`s west peace plan as an act to nullify the Northern Limit Line that benefits North Korea. Incumbent presidential national security chief Kim Jang-soo who served as minister of national defense for the former president back in the 2007 summit and negotiated with then People`s Armed Forces Minister of North Korea Kim Il Chul, remains silent. It is a wonder whether Kim thinks the west peace plan is no problem if the equal distance and equal area principles are attained.

The opposition party and progressives attacked the Park administration, saying "If establishing a joint west fishing area is giving up Northern Limit Line, the demilitarized zone peace park of President Park equals giving up the military demarcation line." But no one in the ruling party failed to refute the opposition`s claim. Just four months before ending term as president, the late former President Roh met North Korean leader and talked about pulling out military from the West Sea islands without an agreement procedure with the public. This compares with the plan to create a demilitarized zone peace park with the United Nations` war participating countries, based on a solid national defense mode.

The grand finale of the Northern Limit Line issue is the controversial scrapping of the 2007 inter-Korean summit minutes. Truth has yet to be revealed thoroughly. Rep. Moo Jae-in of the Democratic Party, a confidant of former President Roh, needs to express his stance. Even if prosecutors find the truth of the summit transcript disappearance, which has altered into a political issue, it is still skeptical whether the political parties will succumb and the public will appreciate it. Will the ruling party just ignore claims that those who leaked the summit transcript should be held responsible?

The Minerva owl spreads its wings when the sun sets. This is to obtain wisdom at dusk when midday hassles settle and quiet down. It is time to find enlightenment rather than political gains. Whoever wins will result in the Pyrrhic victory, an honor with a devastating cost.