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[Editorial] Chong Wa Dae`s subtle stance

Posted July. 14, 2000 10:54,   


Recent development of tense emotions and uneasiness between the South and the North is causing counter-productive partisan rivalry in Seoul as to make our politics of vortex more difficult.

In its recent editorial, this daily pointed out that Pyongyang`s naked diatribe against the Chosun Ilbo and Grand National Party leader Lee Hoi-Chang can in no way be justified. Of more concern to us here is the repercussion it is creating in the South.

Initially, Chong Wa Dae`s views on Pyongyang`s denouncement of the GNP leader appeared to state that the way the North railed at Lee was not right. Yet, the prevailing mood at the Presidential office seems to show that its primary interest is in disparaging the opposition leader over this matter.

In particular, the statements reportedly made by a high-ranking presidential aide about GNP leader Lee are totally incomprehensible as to defy our sound common sense. Reportedly, he stated that the two Koreas` bilateral exchanges will make exponential and drastic progress by the late next year. There will no longer be any room left for the Cold War mentality to sustain. Thus, the aide supposedly warned that Lee may greatly lose his face if he entertains any delusion as if he already secured the next presidency.

As an opposition party leader in a democratic nation, Lee was perfectly right to raise questions in his parliamentary address about Pyongyang`s nuclear and missile programs and to state his party`s stand to emphasize reciprocity and mutuality in dealing with Pyongyang. It is also quite natural for him to state his views critical of the government`s North Korea policies.

Opposition party`s rightful criticism and questioning should by no means be regarded as an act of blind obstructions and hampering. We must ask, therefore, what motivated the presidential aide to make such a defamatory statement against the GNP leader, together with the uncalled-for comments on the opposition leader`s prospects in the next presidential election.

This led an opposition member of parliament to ask an unduly radical question in the National Assembly whether Chong Wa Dae represented pro-North Korean forces. The strenuous protests by the parliamentary members of the ruling party against the opposition member gave rise to the adjournment of its plenary session.

We should not make a sweeping generalization to regard those, who hold critical views on the June 15 Declaration, as representing anti-unification forces. Diverse views must freely be expressed on the historic Declaration because it has profoundly significant content for the nation. Its effective realization is an imperative task for us all. The government should conduct its North Korea policies with a transparent posture by listening to diverse views critical of the government. This will enable the government to win popular support for its policies. Any effective conduct of policies must be based on such popular support.

The government should not hesitate to clearly say and state to Pyongyang what ought to be said. This will help foster mutual trust between the South and the North.