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[Reporter`s view] Gov¡¯t narrow-minded on Hwang

Posted November. 28, 2000 14:05,   


From the current standpoint, isn't Hwang Jang-Yop's warning that no aid should be given to North Korea as long as its leader Kim Jong-Il holds power a bit off?

Why is the government so intent on keeping Hwang Jang-Yop, the former secretary of the North Korean Workers' Party, behind a door of silence?

Although those in the government stood fiercely opposed to one another concerning the Hwang case, the response of the people showed a lack of understanding. Hwang might have been the mastermind in systematizing the North Korean government, however, the South Korean people failed to agree with his extreme claims during the press conferences upon his arrival to the South.

Even the opinions of other North Korean escapees in the South -- that aid should be given, but in the light of the present capability of the South, the amount of aid should be controlled -- differed with Hwang.

Even so, the stance of the government revealed during the current Hwang dispute disappointed many. The government denied -- an outright lie as it had indeed restricted Hwang's public work -- having restricted Hwang and then when faced with undeniable truth, heartlessly asked Hwang to leave the protection of the National Intelligence Service (NIS). After much tit-for-tat, although the government did agree to keep Hwang under "special care," the attitude of the government seems a bit crude and artless.

It might be considered a minor misstep by the government. However, the greater damage is the loss of trust by the people, who have come to feel a sense of confidence and joy riding on the successful inter-Korean summit, a first since the division of the peninsula, and the "sunshine policy," which opened a new horizon in the relationship between the two states.

Perhaps there are those who agree with Hwang's extreme views. However, many questioned why it required putting a gag on Hwang's mouth to prevent him from expressing them.

The greatest merit of the democratic system is the expression of different voices to provide a free market of ideas from which the people can make decisions. The system affords trust to each individual to make choices as he or she sees fit. Without such trust and choice given, how could the government call itself a people's government?

Allowing a differing voice to express its ideology might not only bring an end to such ruckus concerning the government policy barring the free movement of a individual, it also might provide a fast track to the success of the reconciliation between South and North Korea.