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Thursday,November 26,2020
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We Are Part of the World-Negotiating with the Taleban-
As an editor of international desk, I have been following continuous conflicts in several countries.  One of the most shocking events is the Taleban's abduction of 23 Koreans in Afghanistan, which has made me change my indifferent attitude about international relations.
  After the Taleban took the 23 Christian volunteers hostage, they killed two of them.  Then they postponed the hostage release several times.  Because of their cruel killings, diplomatic tension has increased in the world as well as in Korea.  The Taleban, however, changed their attitude gradually after several negotiations with the Korean government, and released two women on August 13.  Later, the other 19 hostages were freed dramatically on August 28.
  I heard that they demanded a large amount of money and releasing the Taleban's prisoners in Afghanistan for releasing the hostages.  The Taleban's key demand was not acceptable, but they firmly insisted their demand for a while.  But they changed their stance gradually.  They tried to have negotiations with our government directly and finally released two women.  Then, What made them change their mind?
  The Taleban's bloody behavior has not won them many friends in the world.  All civilized countries that follow the rule of international law have denounced the Taleban's behavior for a long time. 
  And this time, the Korean hostages can be released by negotiation not just between Korea and the Taleban; it should also include the USA and Afghan government.  Releasing the prisoners will effect both positions of the USA and Afghanistan in the world because the peace of world will be influenced by their decision.  That's why both governments offered strong opposition against their demands.
  The Taleban have been denounced for killing other hostages.  Although they have not changed their bloody strategies, the Korean hostage negotiations may have taught them that countries are not so easy to manipulate.  The Taleban should know the fact that they are a very small part of the world.  But do they?  If they know that, they should stop their bloody behavior and threatening the peace of the world.  They also should change their attitude for associating with the other countries.
  Nowadays, the hostages and their church are blamed seriously by most Korean netizens.  The Christian volunteers in Afghanistan was to help the poor, but they are being criticized because they went there without the enough training needed to travel such a country.  If they really wanted to help the poor and accomplish something worthwhile, they should have learned about that country's ideology, religion, and dangerous areas.  They were kidnapped while moving by car from one area to another.  But they should have known that their route was extremely dangerous and that few foreigners travel that area by car or public bus.
  This rash and thoughtless action of 23 Koreans caused the Korean Government to be criticized by international society.  This is because the Korean Government negotiated with terrorists to save the hostages, although "No Negotiations with Terrorists" is the international rule.  Regardless of whether they went to Afghanistan as a group of medical volunteers or missionaries, this writer blames them because they ignored the warning at the airport and travelled naively in a dangerous country.
  Peaceful international society can exist by trying to have harmony among nations but this requires understanding and respect among many countries and cultures.  The Taleban is denounced for their behavior unacceptable for the international society.  And the Korean hostages are criticized because they did not know the importance of understanding the dangerous area they were visiting.  The reason why both of them are blamed is because we are living in a world, where small groups of people can have an influence on international events.
  Therefore, we are living in an interrelated world.  This is unavoidable.  From now on, we need to adjust our viewpoints for this world.
  In conclusion, I would like to praise the Foreign Ministry for successfully negotiating with the Taleban as well as the Korean nation for its compassion for the hostages.

Cho Ryeo-jin  lemonyujin@dongguk.edu

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