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Civic Groups under Fire with Government

Posted March. 28, 2003 22:17,   


Civil rights groups have threatened to campaign against congressmen who agree to vote for deployment of South Korean troops to the Gulf in support of coalition forces. In response, President Roh Moo-hyun stressed yesterday, "It is not desirable to foster a threatening atmosphere to influence a decision-making procedure."

Having said so in a meeting of Blue House officials, President Roh continued, "When political and other differences exist, it is more appropriate to stand up for his or her position than to try to oppose others`. Campaigning to wage rejection or opposition should be limited to immoral activities." As to the report that most members of Nosamo, the strongest supporter of Roh, oppose troop deployment, the president commented, "It`s natural to have different voices."

Then he pronounced, "We are living in a new era when having the same political orientation does not exclude having different voices on an issue. I don`t mind if Nosamo had turned its back on me for that issue. The fact that they had supported me during the campaign has nothing to do with their current position."

He urged, "It is legal for civil rights groups to communicate their positions to the public pursuant to the law. I advise them to refrain from doing anything to cross that line. If congressmen or civic groups want their voices to be heard, they should follow the rules and regulations of the country."

Regarding postponement of voting by the National Assembly on the "deployment bill," Roh stated: "I know it is the right of the congressmen to vote for or against a bill. It is also their right to first discuss an issue before deciding what their stance is. It is also okay to have different positions. I just want them to vote in accordance with the laws and procedures."

Jeong-Hun Kim jnghn@donga.com