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[Editorial] Few Deem President Kim`s Statement as Apology

[Editorial] Few Deem President Kim`s Statement as Apology

Posted February. 14, 2003 22:37,   


President Kim Dae Jung gave a speech on TV yesterday regarding the checkbook diplomacy scandal, which has it that Kim sent an astronomical amount of dollars to North Korea to buy the historic North-South summit. In his speech, which was aired live nationwide, he said, "I apology to South Koreans. I am the one to be blamed, and to take all responsibilities." But, he failed to explain to us how he would take responsibilities for what conducts, and why he should make an apology. Name doesn`t matter. It could be an explanation or an apology. What really matters is the truth contained in the message. Without it, no one would be persuaded into buying it. Unfortunately, Kim`s message lacks truth and sincerity, thus failing to persuade South Koreans into understanding why he had to secretly give the money to North Korea.

Comparing Kim`s statement with additional explanations by Lim Dong-won and Park Ji-won, all the economic programs of Kim seem to have been motivated to help the various business projects pursued by the biggest chaebol Hyundai to tap on the North Korean market. The National Intelligence Service was ordered to assist Hyundai in secretly wiring to North as part of the Kim administration`s aid package to Hyundai. Even worse, the summit between North and South Korea was arranged by Hyundai out of its greed to secure its monopoly in receiving support from the Kim administration for conducting "North Korea" programs. Then, the essence of the North-South summit, which Kim Dae Jung administration has boasted as one of its greatest accomplishments, is nothing more than a byproduct of Hyundai programs, or guarantee for Hyundai`s success.

We can also encounter Kim`s insincerity. He gave no factual explanation. Kim conceded that Hyundai gave $500 million to the North Korean regime in consideration for its monopoly in conducting business projects with North. But, even though we know how Hyundai Marine Merchant gave $200 million to North, we do not hear a word about how the rest of the $500 million, or $300 million, was made and where it was spent. Without disclosing everything other than what we have known so far, South Koreans would not buy Kim`s statement as apology.

Under these circumstances, it is inevitable to conduct an investigation into the checkbook diplomacy. It would not hurt the national interest or security, contrary to Kim`s allegation, to first find all the "facts," and then to determine which piece of information should or should not be made public. Furthermore, fact-finding is one thing, and punishing another. Securing transparency in dealing with North Korea is a must in pursuing cooperation and peaceful coexistence between the two Koreas. And, that way, we can enhance our national interest.

All political parties, ruling or opposition, must cooperate to find out the truth. Either should not encourage divisions between South Koreans by trying to manipulate this case for political reasons. If the ruling Millennium Democratic Party insists on coddling Kim in the name of the national interest, the only option left to us is to appoint an independent counsel as the Grand National Party argues for. We have to wrap up this case as early as possible, and should move on.