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Clear up your position, Moon

Mar 08,2017
The main opposition Democratic Party on Monday held a TV debate among candidates running for the party primary for the next presidency, three hours after North Korea fired four ballistic missiles off its eastern coast. Yet none of the candidates brought the issue up.

Instead they mostly expressed opposition to the plan of the Korean and U.S. governments to bring in the Terminal High Altitude Defense Area (Thaad) system for greater protection against North Korean nuclear missile attack.

Moon Jae-in, the leading candidate, said the decision to deploy the system should be left up to the next administration and is an issue that requires a vote from the National Assembly as well as further coordination with the U.S. and China. South Chungcheong Province Governor An Hee-jung and other gubernatorial heads running in the primary avoided answering, maintaining “strategic ambiguity.”

South Korea would become the first target of North Korea’s missile attack. North Korea possesses various-distance missiles with a range of between 500 kilometers (311 miles) and 3,000 kilometers like the super-sized Rodong Scud and intercontinental ballistic Musudan missile that puts the entire Korean peninsula under its strike zone. North Korea on Monday blasted off missiles that flew 1,000 kilometers before falling into the East Sea to show off its capacity. South Korea is in need of not only Thaad but more powerful weapons for protection.

Yet president aspirants from the main opposition that are leading the popular polls pay little attention to the gravity of North Korea’s missile threat and instead are finding fault with the Thaad decision that is under process after full agreement with the U.S. Moon must clearly specify whether he backs or opposes the deployment and explain himself.

Following the news of assassination of Kim Jong-nam, half brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, Moon proposed an exchange of South Korean rice for North Korean mineral resources. He claimed the conservatives were using anti-North Korean sentiment to their favor when he came under criticism for discrediting the UN sanctions on North Korea. His ambiguity on Thaad has aggravated public anxiety about his North Korean and security policies.

A security plan is the top requirement for the leader that has the duty to protect 50 million people from North Korean threats. Someone who does not speak frankly on security issues in fear of losing votes is not eligible to represent the people.

JoongAng Ilbo, March 7, Page 30