Go to contents

[Focus] Major points at issue for proposed revision of the National Security Law

[Focus] Major points at issue for proposed revision of the National Security Law

Posted February. 02, 2001 11:51,   


Three major political parties take different stands on the proposed changes to the National Security Law concerning specifics as well as generalities.

Outstanding points at issue are three provisions: Article 2, which defines anti-state organizations; Article 7 prohibiting praise and encouragement of North Korea; and Article 10 on non-notification.

Pretension to government:

Article 2 provides that any association or organization, at home and abroad, pretending to be a government or aiming to subvert the state is an anti-state entity. The definition automatically reduces North Korea, which constituted a government within the Korean peninsula, the territory of the Republic of (South) Korea, to the status of anti-state entity.

The most disputed content concerns pretension to a government. A draft version by the Millennium Democratic Party (MDP) calls for its deletion. A few junior parliamentary members of the Grand National Party (GNP) agree with the ruling party. It is construed to mean they would not regard North Korea as an anti-state body if the latter renounced its hostile stance.

But the majority of the opposition party members and the United Liberal Democrats (ULD) are opposed. In view of the double standards adopted by Pyongyang in its relations with Seoul, North Korea hardly can be considered to have abandoned its aim of unifying Korea under communism, they believe.

Praise and encouragement:

The government party thinks amendment to Article 7 that bans praise and encouragement of the communist cause is central to the job of changing the National Security Law. According to its draft, only an act of forming, joining and agitating for an anti-state entity or any other body serving the interest of the enemy as stipulated in Article 1 and 3 should be made punishable, while the definition of materials publicizing the cause of the enemy contained in Article 5 needs to be stricken. That would require total scrapping of these articles.

On the other hand, some junior GNP lawmakers are in favor of abolishing parts of the provisions or making these offenses less amenable to penalty.

The majority opinion in the GNP and the splinter ULD is opposed to the revision, which they say is premature. They argue that misinterpretation or abuse in running the legal provisions could be prevented by the discretion of the law-enforcement authorities.


The MDP seeks to do away with the Article 10 section on the crime of non-notification. It claims that obligating citizens to report on crimes and punish violators as criminals is against human ethics and might infringe upon the freedom of conscience guaranteed under the Constitution. Some young GNP National Assemblymen share this view.

However, officials at the National Intelligence Service and the prosecution responsible for dealing with subversive activities and security affairs regard this provision as a highly effective tool of probe. They thus have strong reservations about the elimination of non-notification charges.