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Hwang protests gov¡¯t gag order

Posted November. 21, 2000 21:27,   


Former secretary of North Korean Workers¡¯ Party Hwang Jang-Yop said Monday that he has been prevented from meeting politicians and journalists, making public lectures, publishing articles or participating in grass-roots movement for the democratization of North Korea.

The National Intelligence Service (NIS) has forbade these public activities because of his critical stand against the policy of the Seoul government toward North Korea, said the 77-year-old former confidant and ideological mentor of North Korea's strongman Kim Jong-Il.

The statement under the title of "Our Position on Korean Unification" was released jointly by Hwang and Kim Dok-Hong, who accompanied him at the time of their daring defection in 1997.

The paper, dated Nov. 21, said that the restrictions were imposed on them after the NIS authorities called them into a safe house Nov. 16 to reprimand the pair for censuring the North Korea policy of the present Seoul government. The reprimand came in harsh terms in an article printed in the June issue of "National Unification," organ of the Fraternity of North Korean Defectors, entitled ¡°On Several Questions Concerning the Inter-Korean Summit.¡±

The contribution was later published in a Japanese newspaper in October.

"We pointed out in a petition sent Nov. 17 to NIS director Lim Dong-Won that it is irrelevant to blame us for having criticized the incumbent government and that we have all along maintained a stance of not interfering in its policy," the statement said. "We have to decide for ourselves how to act unless the restrictions are lifted (by the NIS)."

Kim Young-Sik spear@donga.com