NATIONAL

Conservatives bring Moon’s national security stance into question

By Korea Herald
  • Published : Aug 2, 2017 - 17:26
  • Updated : Aug 2, 2017 - 17:33
Conservative opposition parties are turning up the heat on President Moon Jae-in, attacking the administration’s North Korean policies and accusing him of complacency on security issues.

On Wednesday, the floor leader of the minor conservative Bareun Party, Rep. Joo Ho-young, urged Moon to cut his vacation short, saying that the international community is leaving Seoul out in dealing with North Korea. 

Bareun Party Rep. Joo Ho-young (Yonhap)

“(The current situation) is the worst security crisis since liberation (from Japan in 1945). North Korea has developed an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of hitting continental US, and China and US are clashing (over Pyongyang’s provocations),” Joo said, adding that Moon should return to work.

Joo refuted Cheong Wa Dae’s explanation for Moon’s decision keep his schedule unchanged, voicing doubt over the administration’s ability to deal with security issues.

“It is incomprehensible that (Moon is vacationing) though ambassadors to the four major powers have not been decided, and (why Moon) does not engage the US on (security) issues,” he said. 

President Moon Jae-in (Yonhap)

Moon is currently on a five-day vacation and is scheduled to return to work Saturday.

In explaining why Moon’s vacation would not be cut short, Cheong Wa Dae officials said that returning ahead of schedule could fan the public’s concern and that the president is fully prepared to respond to any new developments.

The main opposition Liberty Korea Party has compared Moon’s vacation to former President Park Geun-hye’s actions on the day of the ferry Sewol’s sinking. It also called for the president to clarify his position on North Korea.

Rep. Kim Myung-yeon of the Liberty Korea Party said that the timing of Moon’s vacation could damage the administration’s credibility, adding that “the people passed cold judgement on President Park Geun-hye for the seven hours on the day of the Sewol tragedy.”

There had been controversy over Park’s whereabouts for seven hours on April 16, 2014 when the ferry sank off the southeastern coast.

Highlighting that the US is reviewing plans to bring about a regime change in the North, the Liberty Korea Party accused the Moon government of sending mixed messages and called for it to take a clear position on the possible regime change.

“The Moon Jae-in administration continues to go back and forth on North Korean issues. (The administration) talks of unilateral sanctions and of THAAD deployment, but at the same time talks of dialogue,” the party said in a statement.

The ruling Democratic Party of Korea, for its part, defended Moon’s decisions on related issues, including his order to temporarily deploy four more Terminal High Altitude Area Defense launchers in Seongju, North Gyeongsang Province.

Following Pyongyang’s ICBM launch Friday, Moon ordered officials to immediately begin talks with Washington on deploying more THAAD launchers. The deployment, however, is to be temporary and will not affect an environmental impact study.

During a radio interview Wednesday, Democratic Party Floor Leader Rep. Woo Won-shik highlighted China’s role in related issues.

“The international community has questions about how (the North Korean situation) would have developed if China had fully played its role on North Korea’s nuclear development and ICBM provocations,” Woo said.

“The additional THAAD deployment is a decision that involves the Korea-US alliance. I think that China taking a more responsible and proactive approach would help resolve conflict.”

By Choi He-suk (cheesuk@heraldcorp.com)