The SK-Japan military pact: where is democracy? and is it really beneficial?

The signing of the ROK-Japan General Security Of Military Information Agreement, the highly controversial military pact between SK (do I have to mention that the ROK is the official name of SK?)  and Japan, was postponed indefinitely just 40 minutes before its appointed signing ceremony. This case has clearly demonstrated what the republic lacks: democracy at least its procedural means, diplomatic dignity and a concept of citizen, upon which the republic is established.

The public’s resentment over the military pact needs no explanation: Japan colonized Korea for 35 years and lots of issues rooted in this colonial rule, including the comfort women issue, are still unresolved. However, if there may be actual benefits through the pact, we should consider it seriously and try to persuade the public. The MB government didn’t do none of these: it couldn’t prove its usefulness and didn’t tried to persuade the public–instead it tried to deceive the public by handling this surreptitiously as an impromptu item at the Cabinet meeting.

Before we go over more about its procedural issue, we should review the potential outcomes of the ROK-Japan GSOMIA. Japan’s information gathering assets outnumber that of SK. Sharing information seems to be expanding the capability of recognizing possible threats, especially from the north, for both countries. But in the recent cases, history tells us differently.

In 2009, Japan raised a couple of false alarms over the North Korean rocket launch. Not all information gathered is useful by itself. It requires expertise and experience to distill off the noises and extract the proper signals. Only after that there comes what we call intelligence. The flutter that heavily embarrassed the Japanese government shows its incompetence of that. Further than that, Japanese defense minister announced the recent NK rocket launch after the US and SK had announced the launch and its failure.

We used to think that we can attain more accurate intelligence when we combine various sources as much as possible. What we used to forget is that the noise, as well as the signal, amplifies as we put more sources into consideration. Bear in mind that SK still maintains DEFCON 4 even in the peacetime and imagine what would happen if shared information from Japan raises a false alarm in a case of a strained situation between the north and the south.

By dealing the pact clandestinely, the MB government again showed its anti-democratic nature internationally. President Lee Myung-bak himself tried to rush the pact through in his absence, undoubtedly to eschew criticism alone, again proved himself as the most miserable leader of the country ever.

At this point, I can’t resist myself to raise this question: is SK truly a republic? Wiktionary says a republic means “a state where sovereignty rests with the people or their representatives, rather than with a monarch or emperor.” It is astounding that the government was able to deal a critical issue like this pact alone, without an approval of the National Assembly. Even its deferring was due to the personal demand of the floor leader of the ruling party. A democratic procedure was nowhere to be found. The members of the Assembly, stop dabbling with no-work-no-pay principle, to which you won’t stick anyway, and get your own piece of meat right.

It was personally astounding to find out that even before establishing civilian control over the military, we have to establish the republic above all. From where should we start over?


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