The usual suspects over at Marmot's Hole are falling over themselves looking a gift horse in the mouth, busying themselves with with speculation and innuendo in order to formulate an argument over why this gift is not a gift at all. There are even hints that Korea's efforts to help are racist because the Foreign Ministry seems only concerned about ROK nationals and (according to speculation) Americans who are ethnic Koreans.
I guess to some, Korea is a country that can do no right.
Yes, the FM is putting together a task force to account for ROK nationals, and that is where some money is going, but the fifty-person rescue team is going to be saving lives and finding bodies. At at time when those same might be needed here in Korea and perhaps nearby Japan thanks to Typhoon Nabi.
Well, it turns out that Koreans are not the only ones concerned about their citizens in the Gulf region (and after all, isn't that concern something a foreign ministry is tasked with dealing with?). Australia, Hong Kong, Japan, and others in the region are all concerned. The Australian press reports that Australian media ended up saving some of their fellow citizens.
Picking on Korea for being concerned about its citizens is just going overboard. Is this not what the U.S. government did during the Bali bombings, the tsunami, or the attack on London? I'm not saying that Bush should get prostrate in front of Roh over this, since any aid should be purely humanitarian to begin with, but what good is it if Korea is in a damned if you do and damned if you don't situation?
Although this article doesn't specifically mention Korea, it says that "most of the [$854 million of foreign aid] went uncollected" by the Bush Administration. The Washington Post also reports that the Bush Administration was "turning down many allies' offers of manpower, supplies and expertise worth untold millions of dollars."
What a waste at a time when so many people were suffering and dying. I sincerely hope that this news doesn't get a lot of play in the press of those countries, including Korea, from where the aid was supposed to come.