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[Editorial] Chairman Chung`s Tragedy and Right Path to Inter-Korean Economic Projects

[Editorial] Chairman Chung`s Tragedy and Right Path to Inter-Korean Economic Projects

Posted August. 04, 2003 22:04,   


Chairman of Hyundai Asan Co. Chung Mong-hun`s suicide meant more than a “personal tragedy.” The death of chairman Chung, who had been a central figure being deeply involved in inter-Korean exchanges and under the on-going investigation into the secret cash transfer to North Korea before the historic inter-Korean summit, cannot be interpreted as one person`s tragedy. Although the motivation behind his suicide is still unclear, it is not difficult to assume that psychological pressure caused by the investigation into the alleged his involvement in the cash transfer might have led the chairman to kill himself. Although the deceased Hyundai chairman`s personal tragedy is deplorable, it is time for the government to uncover what led him to commit suicide and come up with proper measures to avoid further damages.

Negative and positive aspects of the inter-Korean economic projects led by the Hyundai group aside, chairman Chung was a leading Koran businessman who devoted himself to promoting expanded inter-Koran exchanges. It is undeniable that inter-Korean economic projects led by chairman Chung, who followed in footsteps of his deceased father Hyundai founder Chung Joo-young, have largely contributed to inter-Korean reconciliation. He might have devoted himself to the inter-Korean economic projects with his unwavering wishes of promoting peace on the Korean Peninsula. The note he left behind asking his family members to sprinkle ashes of his body over Mountain Geumgang illustrates his sincere whishes for a success of the inter-Koran projects.

However, the inter-Korean economic projects led by the Hyundai group ultimately led to a tragedy. If the inter-Korean economic projects had began in a legitimate and transparent manner, there might have been no reasons for investigations led by the special counsel team and the prosecution to uncover all the truths behind the secret cash transfer to North Korea, including additional allegation surrounding the matter. In addition, historical significance of major inter-Koran economic cooperation projects such as the scenic Mt. Geumgang tourism project and construction of the Gaesung industrial park might not have been overshadowed by their negative aspects. The death of chairman Chung clearly demonstrates problems and limits that the inter-Koran economic cooperation projects have.

It is time that the inter-Koran economic cooperation projects were put on the normal track. The government should review the validity of the projects and correct all problematic aspects. There is no reason for the government to continue the inter-Koran economic projects which churned out violators against national laws and led to the death of the promising businessman. However, the government announced that it would do its utmost efforts to continue the problematic inter-Korean economic project without a hitch. It is lamentable that the government is still reluctant to lock the stable door even after the horse is stolen. The government should closely look at the incident to find out whether the government might have led to the death of chairman Chung by passing all responsibilities to Hyundai chairman Chung when problems were found in the process of inter-Korean economic exchanges although it had been pleased by reconciliation mood created by the company through the inter-Korean projects at the beginning. If the public further suffered from negative impacts the inter-Korean economic projects have, it will go against the noble spirit of the peace and prosperity policy which the Roh`s government has been promoting.