Thursday, November 25, 2010
South Korea has accepted the resignation of its defense minister in the wake of the artillery bombardment from the North. The firing was symbolic and a message to South Koreans that the status quo with the North is not acceptable. But, what is acceptable? The country is in a delicate position. It is trying not to provoke the tyrannical regime in the North, yet it is also trying to secure the safety of its citizens. It is hoping China will step in to pressure the North but China doesn't appear to be willing to do that. It needs to keep world opinion on its side, but it also needs to stop unprovoked acts of aggression. Tit-for-tat violence may not be the answer. There are parallels for that. Think of the stand-off between Israelis and Palestinians. Nothing has been resolved there, but thousands have been killed. What kind of messages must South Korea communicate and how to the North? That is the challenge the South is facing, and it is probably one of the hardest tasks of a politician to undertake.