Updated June. 26, 2013 06:25
The Northern Limited Line (NLL) looks weird and has become something that one cannot touch it without permission, like a monster, said former President Roh Moo-hyun to North Korean leader Kim Jong Il during the inter-Korean summit in October 2007. It is hard to believe that it was said by the president of the Republic of Korea, the commander in chief holding a responsibility to safeguard his country. Needless to say, the NLL is a territorial line defended by numerous young people with their blood and deaths, as President Park Geun-hye said on Tuesday.
Back then, Roh said to Kim Jong Il, The NLL has no grounds in international law and the rationale for it is unclear. This is far from the truth, however. The NLL is a sea border declared by Mark W. Clark, then commander of the United Nations Command, on July 27, 1953, immediately after the armistice treaty set the ground borders between the two Koreas. Rather, the NLL deterred South Korean forces to move northward toward the annihilated North Korean sea territory. That is why North Korea has not raised any issue for more than two decades.
North Korea, however, started to nullify the NLL from October 1973 and declared its discretionary sea borderline, which is lower than the five South Korean islands bordering North Korea, in 1977. It disguised its real intention by proclaiming the Western Peace Zone during the inter-Korean summit. It was a tactic to gain a foothold in Seoul and its metropolitan region for its all-at-once attack. Over the past 10 years, North Korea has unveiled its real intention with a series of events such as the battles of Yeonpyeong and Daecheong, the sinking of the naval corvette Cheonan and the bombing of Yeonpyeong Island.
It is absurd for opposition parties of South Korea to claim that President Roh safeguarded the NLL because he did not use the word give up in the record of his speech. He said, I am on the same page with you (Kim Jong Il) on the NLL issue. We should change the NLL. This is nothing but giving up the NLL. At the standing committee of the National Unification Advisory Council in November 2007, he even said, If the line was agreed, South Korean soldiers did not have to sacrifice their lives, seemingly insulting the sacrifice of the fallen soldiers in the battles against the North.
The NLL is the bulwark of security defending our peace and safety. We cannot take even a step back on the NLL.