Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Who's Provoking Whom?

"South Korea started nationwide live-fire naval exercise on Monday, despite tensions with North Korea," while President Barack Obama asked his Chinese counterpart, Hu Jintao, to "send a clear message to North Korea that its provocations are unacceptable" — Tensions rise as South Korea conducts naval drills.

I caught a lot of slack for an earlier post suggesting that South Korea may be playing with fire — Who Prokoved Whom in Yŏnpyŏngdo? "Pure pro-Pyongyang apologist b.s.," said one commenter. It seems many are only comfortable with black-and-white narratives these days. Yes, P'yŏngyang is sinister and despicable, but does it follow that Seoul's every action is therefore innocent and pure?

Peter Lee recently put forth evidence that "North Korea is desperate to establish relations with the United States" and that "South Korea, under President Lee Myung-bak, wants the North to collapse and to dominate the reunification process" — Dear Leader's designs on Uncle Sam. Among the "significant North Asian takeaways from the WikiLeaks cables," he noted that "South Korean government officials are indefatigably, crudely and rather transparently 'working the refs' - selectively packaging and vociferously pushing their arguments - to persuade the United States to abandon mediation through the People's Republic of China (PRC) and/or negotiation with North Korea and instead put South Korea and its reunification agenda in the diplomatic driver's seat."

This is a Korean issue and Koreans should decide it. I've lived hear almost fifteen years and still cannot make up my mind whether South Korea should pursue the "Sunshine Policy" or a more confrontational approach. They know what's best. What's best for Americans is that we should not be brought in as a "tripwire" to fight someone else's war.

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Omnes Sancti et Sanctæ Coreæ, orate pro nobis.