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[Editorial] Pro-N. Korean, Not Pan-Korean

Posted June. 25, 2009 09:06,   


Prosecutors have indicted Pan-Korean Alliance for Reunification Chairman Lee Gyu-jae, Secretary General Lee Gyeong-won, and propaganda staff member Choi Eun-ah on the charge of abetting the enemy. They are suspected of getting government approval to visit North Korea or meet North Koreans under the pretext of inter-Korean cooperation. They are also known to have received orders from North Korean spies near Mount Kumgang and in China, and acted on the orders from 2003 to 2007. This explains why the alliance has used the same slogans as those broadcast by North Korean media in illegal and violent demonstrations in South Korea. Under orders from Pyongyang, the leftist group has supported the North’s nuclear test and praised the Stalinist country’s juche (self-reliance) ideology and military-first policy. The alliance has also asked Seoul to remove the statue of U.S. Gen. Douglas MacArthur in Incheon and taken the lead in protests against the relocation of the U.S. Forces Korea to Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi Province.

The alliance was formed in 1990 as a part of the reunification strategy of the Unification Front Department, a spy agency under the North Korean Workers’ Party. After publicly supporting the North’s reunification model based on federalism, withdrawal of U.S. forces from South Korea, and the abolition of the National Security Law, the alliance was branded an organization abetting the enemy by the Supreme Court in 1997. Yet it continues to operate. Pyongyang calls the alliance a “patriotic organization,” and even sends letters to leading figures of the group to encourage them. One of the figures included the alliance’s vice chairman Kim Gyu-chil, who was arrested by South Korea in 2001.

Nevertheless, previous liberal administrations in the South led by Kim Dae-jung and Roh Moo-hyun effectively aided the alliance, which led anti-American and pro-North Korea gatherings. The Roh government effectively supported the alliance’s acts abetting the enemy by ignoring prosecutors’ opinions and allowing alliance members to visit North Korea three times.

The group’s founding chairman Kang Hee-nam killed himself June 6 at age 89. He left a will saying, “We live in an era led by the people. Remember the April 19 (1960 student) revolution and the June civic uprising (1987 pro-democracy movement). Only the general public can help the nation move in the right direction. Let’s get rid of murderer Lee Myung-bak via a second June uprising.” His will well reflects the character of the organization.

Today is the 59th anniversary of the Korean War. If U.N. forces did not arrive to face North Korea’s attack, South Korea would not have the freedom and prosperity it enjoys now. Nevertheless, those who criticize MacArthur’s 1950 Incheon landing and demand withdraw of U.S. forces from South Korea still exist. Worse, the alliance is not the only organization in the South that supports the North’s recent nuclear test.

South Koreans who do not take national security as seriously as post-war generations have are accounting for an increasingly large share of the population. The decade-long “sunshine policy” has apparently lowered the South Korean public’s guard against the North. Given the nasty character of the unification alliance, South Koreans should recognize that North Korea will never give up its plan to communize the South.