US Secretary of State Rex Tilerson’s statement “Japan is our most important ally, and South Korea is an important partner” is causingmuch controversy as the South Korean administrators find themselves in a very awkward situation after all the strong commitments to the relation with the US despite putting up with severe economic retaliations from the Chinese government. This has been the result ever since the Trump administration took over from Obama, and Mr. Tilerson proved that “Japan is foremost the priority to the US government”. What is the reason why history repeats itself, but in a negative way today, as ever since the WWII during the Potsdam Conference - Japan which is responsible for such crime was in fact the beneficiary as the Korean peninsula was divided into two without any good cause. Furthermore, Mr. Tilerson’s visit to Beijing, which was initially anticipated to deal with issues on ‘THAAD’ and ‘Economic Retaliation on South Korea’, turned out to discuss on matters of ‘Relations between China and the US’. Of course they could have had a private discussion considering these were sensitive issues which might hugely impact across the region, and perhaps that’s the reason why official comments were unavailable. Note that there weren’t any hints nor any discussions in advance on such sensitive issues despite the fact South Korea is the center of the issue – this definitely proves that Korean diplomacy is violated, and furthermore, foreign relations are truly left empty without competitiveness.
Complacency and bureaucracy are the natural causes of such result, and not to forget the arrogant attitude in taking these environments without seriousness which is another reason for all of this. Wallowed in flunkeyism, the Korean government’s failure to deal with the US and Chinese pragmatically, again has resulted in such humiliation. Without any doubt, the government officials need both the spirit of sacrifice for the country and the wisdom of pragmatism as far as foreign policy is concerned – this is the exact reason why Chae-Ho Shin’s words shall not be ignored ‘There is no future for the nation and race who neglects its own history’.
The loss of the autonomy today is no different from a century ago when the Korean Empire weighed between Russia and Japanese Empire that has ended in a disaster. To make matters worse, the humiliating foreign policy has directly led to the worst-ever relation with North Korea – an overall emergency to the foreign affairs itself.
The country needs a cool-headed wise foreign policy in this complicated environment, and in order to do so, the country needs to see the big picture first.An apathetic attitude of the government officials will for sure end in the destruction of the country, which is far more horrific than the foreign invasion.
The world is under ultra-nationalism and protectionism where many wish to return back to the old days of selfishness, and our government officials simply do not comprehend such transformations from far away.
A fight due to internal affairs such as the impeachment is indirectly signifying a weakness of our nation’s policy affairs, and the strong neighboring countries are tapping and testing the foreign affairs on a constant basis. Finance Minister Yoo Il-Ho left a cliché that our government is doing all it can do appropriately without a problem when asked by the reporters on the anticipated retaliation from China regarding THAAD. When things turned out the other way, he quickly contacted the director of finance of China for talks, which of course was turned down without a surprise. Foreign Minister Byung-Se Yun has also been declined by Rex Tilerson himself for dinner meeting, which is just so deplorable and pathetic for our nation. Despite the historic candlelight vigil that has brought down the corrupted government in the most peaceful and democratic matter that has brought worldwide attention and even a thing to be learned, the genuine revolution is yet to take place as these incompetent government officials are bringing much shame on the country. A real revolution would only take place when a new vision and hope is suggested with the right philosophy at the same time. If that is not the case, then the same-old internal fight for power and money will only bring the nation into shame and the sacrifice of the Korean people. Today’s reality in the foreign affairs is only evidence that this nation has not even stepped forward in a right path.
The ages of rival warlords, as the words say “When in a hurry, take the long way around”, the administrators need to step back aside and monitor the situation with a cold-hearted spectacle. This nation needs to step back and re-evaluate its national and foreign policy after learning a lesson – Mr. Tilerson’s visit in the region for 5 days has certainly delivered a message that Korea is going on a wrong direction. It will need to adopt the right policy, proactively stick with the appropriate philosophy once it is applied, and become a true independent nation with dignity. We should not be reliant like an innocent child to both an unpredictable Mr. Trump and Kim Jong-Un in order to preserve autonomy and the independence of the nation.
▶한국어버전: [천지일보 시론] 유린당하는 한국 외교, 자주적 외교가 최선의 방책