面对朝鲜 韩国人不愿再忍South Koreans Less Willing to Humor North

发布者: katy | 发布时间: 2010-12-23 15:53| 查看数: 1114| 评论数: 0|

South Korea called North Korea's bluff by staging a military drill in the face of threats this week, but South Koreans are now more wary about their belligerent neighbor and less willing to tolerate the North's fits of aggression.

South Korea's military remained on high alert Tuesday for another attack by North Korea, even after Pyongyang backed off threats it made over the South's artillery test Monday.

A few residents of the island where the drill occurred, called Yeonpyeong, returned home for the first time since the North's Nov. 23 attack, which happened after a previous artillery drill. Two marines and two civilians died in the attack.

Even so, one of the lingering effects of the attack and tension of the past month is a new anger and mistrust that South Koreans feel toward the North.

Such sentiments were on display in extensive media coverage Tuesday of a steel tower on the inter-Korean border that was lit like a Christmas tree by a Seoul church. Reporters speculated North Korean soldiers might shoot at the lights and decorations, which haven't been put up since 2004 when the government halted the practice, saying the Christian connotations of the display went against a no-propaganda agreement the South had signed with North Korea.

The return of the display and the coverage of it was one indication of a decreased willingness in the South to humor the North as well as a sharpened vigil of what Pyongyang may do next.

'The Yeonpyeong incident reminded people of the threat,' said Lee Seo-jung, who was watching her son ice skate at a rink in Seoul Tuesday. 'People are thinking again that the war is not finished.'

For more than a decade, South Koreans have taken North Korea's tantrums and provocations in stride, despite the history of the Korean War of the 1950s, Pyongyang's oft-declared goal of taking over the South and its huge buildup of conventional weapons.

Even when North Korea tested nuclear weapons in 2006 and 2009, South Koreans expressed less alarm than people in other countries did. The 2006 test was not followed by any concrete action, while after the 2009 test, South Korea joined a U.S.-led security effort aimed at stopping the shipment of nuclear components.

But while the previous South Korean governments had a policy of reaching out to North Korea, President Lee Myung-bak's stance has been one of not letting any provocations from the North go unchallenged, a position that appears to resonate more with South Koreans, especially after the Nov. 23 attack.

Opinion surveys since the Nov. 23 attack found sharp jumps in negative sentiment toward North Korea, particularly among young adults who are normally less interested in politics and are two generations removed from the Korean War of the 1950s. The ratings of President Lee initially took a hit amid perceptions of a weak response to the attack.

A survey done last Saturday and Sunday by Realmeter, one of South Korea's largest market researchers, found that 67% of respondents favored going through with the military drill that Seoul carried out Monday. Government officials argued they needed to proceed with the drill to prevent North Korea's attack from creating a de facto change in a maritime boundary.

'We have put up with North Korea's occasional provocations for decades,' said Park Sun-min, chief executive of Min Consulting, a political consulting firm in Seoul. 'Now we've reached a level where we can't do that anymore even if that means we might endure some limited warfare on our land.'

The drill may help Lee's ratings recover, but Park said it was too early to tell. Some opposition party politicians before the drill urged Lee to call it off, citing the risk of escalation of the conflict.

But the anger and wariness hasn't necessarily translated into more fear among South Koreans. The Realmeter survey found that only 25% of respondents believed that North Korea would carry out its threats to attack if the drill happened.

Kim Sung-taek, an office worker in Seoul, said he sees North Korea as an ongoing problem that must be endured but he doesn't think the North would risk its own survival by starting a war with the South.

'North Korea is not that irrational,' Kim said. 'North Korea didn't hit us to kill us, but they want to hurt us and make us notice them.'

One senior South Korean official, speaking with reporters Tuesday on condition of anonymity due to the current sensitivity with the North, said the South's military needed to change its tactics and training to counter the risk of asymmetric, small-scale actions, such as the Yeonpyeong attack and sinking of the South Korea warship Cheonan earlier this year.

'North Korea always tries to make a surprise attack. That is their advantage,' the senior official said. 'In a full-scale war or one-on-one confrontation, North Korea knows better than anyone else that they don't have any chance.'

He also said public opinion in the South has always been Pyongyang's 'strongest and most effective leverage' on the Seoul government's policies with regard to North Korea.

'Since the Yeonpyeong incident, there's been huge damage to that,' he said. 'So I think Yeonpyeong was a political and military mistake by Pyongyang.'



虽然前几届韩国政府都实行向朝鲜示好的政策,但现任总统李明博(Lee Myung-bak)的立场却是不让朝鲜不受制约地随意挑衅,这一立场似乎让韩国民众产生了更大程度的共鸣,尤其是在11月23日的袭击事件之后。



首尔的政治咨询公司Min Consulting的首席执行长Park Sun-min说,我们忍受朝鲜不时发起的挑衅已经数十年了,现在事情发展的程度让我们不能再这样忍受下去了,即便这意味着我们也许要在我们的土地上忍受一些小范围的战事发生。

演习可能有助于恢复李明博的民调满意度,但Park Sun-min说,现在做出判断还为时过早。一些反对党政治家曾在演习前敦促李明博取消演习,说这可能让冲突升级。


首尔的办公室职员Kim Sung-taek说,他认为朝鲜将是一个必须忍受的持续性问题,但他认为朝鲜不会冒着自身的生存风险与韩国开战。







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