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Spineless leadership making Seoul subject of mockery

Posted August. 06, 2021 07:25,   

Updated August. 06, 2021 07:25


A total 74 South Korean lawmakers from the Democratic Party of Korea, Justice Party, and Open Democratic Party issued a statement on Thursday, calling for suspension of the joint military exercise between South Korea and the United States. They claimed that suspending the joint drills can serve as a negotiation card for ameliorating the soured bilateral relations with the North. However, ruling party leader Song Yong-gil said the drills are unavoidable as they have already been agreed upon. On Wednesday, President Moon Jae-in called for a “careful consultation” with the U.S. while being debriefed by the military command.

With the annual ROK-US joint military drills only 10 days ahead, the South Korean government and the ruling party appear to be completely split over. While both keep the official stance that the drills must be proceeded as scheduled, in reality, the imminent event seems to be an inevitability rather than a matter of rescheduling. In fact, most of American soldiers to participate in the drills have already arrived in South Korea, which means the joint exercise has already begun in effect.

President Moon’s ambiguous, lukewarm stance is also fueling chaos. He called for a “careful consultation” without giving specific instructions. This might well be interpreted as an indirect call to test the waters with Washington to postpone or minimize the joint drills. With the South Korean Unification Ministry and the National Intelligence Service proposing to put off the military event, the nation’s politics is jolted by lawmakers gathering signers to demand a halt to the drills.

This all began with Pyongyang’s double-faced tactics of restoring the inter-Korean hotline and pressuring to suspend the drills. After reconnecting the hotline that it cut off unilaterally, the communist regime warned that a joint military exercise would be “an unpleasant prelude.” This gained credence with the NIS proposing the possibility of retaliatory provocations from the North. Even the members of the ruling party are trying to ingratiate themselves with Pyongyang. Under these topsy-turvy circumstances, the long list of vicious acts from the North is conveniently redacted, and there is only a brimful sense of ungrounded hopes and expectations.

Even the drills do get postponed, it will look like the South has succumbed to the threats from Pyongyang, giving upon the regular defense drills and the minimum scope of military training and putting national security on the line to curry favor with the North. Unsurprisingly, this will make the South a subject of mockery and ridicule. With President Moon passing the buck to his ally as “an agenda to be discussed with the U.S.,” Seoul’s diplomatic moves must be far from desirable in the eyes of Washington.