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Lacking a sense of crisis

July 07,2017
We are dumbfounded by the remarks made by ruling Democratic Party Chairperson Choo Mi-ae when she met with Chinese Ambassador to Seoul Qiu Guohong on Thursday. She told him she understands China’s concerns about the deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (Thaad) system in South Korea, adding that the effectiveness of the missile shield is overblown. Despite some diplomatic rhetoric she used in the meeting with a representative of China, her remarks reflect sheer irresponsibility and a critical lack of security sense as the head of the ruling party.

Her statement is shocking as it was made only two days after North Korea succeeded in test-firing an ICBM, which was confirmed by U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson shortly after the launch. Even pro-dialogue President Moon Jae-in suggested to Washington a joint missile drill with the U.S. Forces in South Korea, which was successfully carried out Wednesday on the east coast. Before embarking on a trip to Germany to attend the Group of 20 Summit in Hamburg, President Moon said that his heart was heavy at this time of crisis. Nevertheless, the ruling party head does not have any sense of crisis.

Choo should have demanded of the Chinese ambassador that Beijing take stronger actions, including stopping oil supplies to the North, to force Pyongyang to give up on its relentless pursuit of nuclear weapons and missiles. As it turns out, China has not exercised its influence over North Korea but has repeatedly reneged on an earlier promise to curb the Kim Jong-un regime’s reckless push for nuclear power. Instead, Beijing has been bent on calling for the South Korean government’s cancellation of the deployment of Thaad battery, a weapons system intended only for defense. We wonder if Chairwoman Choo really protested it in the meeting with the Chinese ambassador.

Former Unification Minister Jeong Se-hyun, under the liberal Roh Moo-hyun administration, and Moon’s special advisor for unification and diplomacy, Moon Chung-in, also share the same lack of sense. Jeong asserts that our government must accept Beijing’s proposal for a suspension of South Korea-U.S. military exercises in return for North Korea stopping its nuclear and missile provocations.

Advisor Moon even argued that it is time for us to regard Pyongyang’s possession of nuclear weapons as a fait accompli, saying that we now have to worry about the North’s smuggling of nuclear weapons to other countries. Such absurd remarks constitute a ludicrous denial of the principle of denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

It is very sad that the head of the ruling party and Moon’s security brains are making really out-of-touch remarks in the face of a real nuclear danger from the North. We ask them what benefits we can expect from their incomprehensible remarks.

JoongAng Ilbo, July 7, Page 30