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[Editorial] Awkward reason

Moon emphasizes security to tap brakes on Yoon’s relocation plan

President Moon Jae-in emphasized a “security vacuum” as he sought to put a brake on President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol’s plan to relocate the presidential office.

Yoon was going to move the presidential office to the building of the Ministry of National Defense in Yongsan, Seoul, before May 10, his inauguration day, so that he could be working at the new office from the first day of his presidency.

Moon is said to have taken an opposite position after a National Security Council meeting Monday. He said in the meeting that moving Cheong Wa Dae, the Defense Ministry and the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the presidential transition could cause a security vacuum and confusion.

In the Cabinet meeting Tuesday, Moon said that no excuse should be allowed for a gap in national security and that he would fulfill his obligations as the commander-in-chief of South Korea until the last day of his term.

This indicates he has no desire at all to cooperate with the relocation.

Of course, there must not be a vacuum in national security. That much is obvious and indisputable. And yet many tilt their heads to one side because of his erstwhile words and deeds.

Throughout his five-year presidency, Moon has looked on North Korean provocations and threats like a fire across a river. He rarely attended NSC meetings even after the North launched missiles. Then suddenly he emphasizes security. It is questionable if he is blocking the relocation of the presidential office with some other intention than security concerns.

The Moon administration did not call North Korean missile launches “provocations.” Kim Yo-jong, the sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, told South Korea not to use the “naughty” word and so South Korean authorities coined the strange term of “unidentified projectile.”

The Moon administration declined to co-sponsor the United Nations resolution on North Korean human rights for three consecutive years.

On May 22, 2017, a day after North Korea test-fired a new Pukguksong 2 missile, the NSC was convened, but on that day, Moon took his annual leave to visit his private residence in South Gyeongsang Province.

Moon kept his silence when Kim Jong-un vowed last year to develop nuclear-powered submarines, tactical nuclear bombs and hypersonic weapons.

Moon did not convene an NSC meeting after Russian military planes invaded the territorial air over the Dokdo islets. He did not attend an NSC meeting when the North blew up the building of the South-North liaison office that South Korea had constructed in North Korea.

When a South Korean government official was shot to death and burned by North Korean soldiers on the West Sea, the Moon administration did not protest properly. He did not express anger.

Rather his regime tried to chime in with North Korea’s demands.

When Kim Yo-jong raised issue with the South Korea-US combined military exercises, the government said it could consult North Korea about the training. The exercises were reduced to virtual war games.

The Democratic Party of Korea passed a bill to ban the launching of propaganda leaflets into North Korea, shortly after she told South Korea to do something to stop the leaflets.

North Korean fishermen were repatriated blindfolded via the truce village of Panmunjom shortly after they escaped from the North.

Though Pyongyang never stops military provocations and insults the South Korean leader, Moon interpreted these transgressions as offers for talks and clung to dialogue and the declaration of the end of war.

He did not attend the funeral of war hero Gen. Paik Sun-yup. A former defense minister of the Moon administration said that North Korea’s fatal attacks on South Korea’s Navy vessel Cheonan and the island Yeonpyeongdo had some aspects to them that South Koreans could understand.

It is understandable to some extent for Moon to cite a lack of time, but his sudden mention of a security vacuum sounds awkward. He does not seem to be embarrassed about emphasizing security and North Korean threats now after saying little about them thus far.

By Korea Herald (khnews@heraldcorp.com)
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