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The discordance within the Minjoo Party against North Korea

The discordance within the Minjoo Party against North Korea

Posted February. 10, 2016 07:11,   

Updated February. 10, 2016 07:18


Kim Jong-in, de facto head of the Minjoo Party, talked about North Korea’s self-annihilation on his visit to an army base on Tuesday. “If we consolidate our national security and boost our economy, one day the Kim Jong-un regime will collapse and we will see reunification take place,” Kim said. At an emergency meeting on the missile launch held on Sunday, he first mentioned such thoughts following a remark that the Soviet Union did not collapse because it was not a nuclear nation. When the party head abruptly spoke straightforward one of the three taboos on North Korea, party spokesperson had to explain that it was not about the South attacking the North but about the North’s self-annihilation.

Kim’s nimble moves and audacious words seem to be in consideration of the public outrage toward Kim Jong Un’s recent series of provocations including the nuclear test followed by a missile launch in just a month. A survey by a major Korean broadcast agency revealed that 67.8 percent of Koreans agreed on the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAAD) deployment. Yet, lawmaker Lee Hae-chan of the party expressed opposition in concern of offending China.

At the Foreign Affairs and Unification Committee meeting held on Sunday, two lawmakers of the Minjoo Party made a sublime comment that the recent launch was not a missile but a satellite. A satellite can only function going around the earth orbit when the rocket payload weighs between 800~1500 kilograms. The Chosun Shinbo, the newspaper organized by the pro-North Korea Jochongryon (General Association of North Korean Residents in Japan) said in 2009 that satellite and ICBM rockets are in fact identical, revealing the regime’s plans to develop ICBM capacity. It is highly deplorable how people with such a mind still have a seat at the National Assembly, making a living with taxpayers’ money.

Will Mr. Kim be able to successfully lead a political party containing members who claim the launch merely a satellite not a missile? Ever since former late President Roh Moo-hyun said that North Korea’s nuclear possession is for “self-defense,” such a stance has become part of the DNA of the party’s identity. Korean people now wonder whether Kim will be able to dispose of such a North Korea-friendly attitude.

박제균논설위원 phark@donga.com