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[Editorial] Roh and Choi, Look at the World and the Lives of the People!

[Editorial] Roh and Choi, Look at the World and the Lives of the People!

Posted November. 26, 2003 23:12,   


We have some questions to ask President Roh Moo-hyun and Chairman of the GNP Choi Byung-ryol: Have you decided to let this country suffer the fate of becoming a small, backward nation in a corner of Northeast Asia? Have you decided to incite the people to curse national leaders and politics as they lose their ability to live and work?

On what basis is President Roh making his repeated claims that the economy is overcoming its crises and is not a subject of worry or concern? For whom and for what cause is Chairman Choi instituting this national hunger strike? Are such men real national leaders, who lead only endless political strife and internal political wars while watching the economy and lives of the people deteriorate? Are they leading this country as a member of that club of wealthy nations, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OCED)? Are they not hearing the cries of the corporations that they do not have to care about the economy after all this time but that they should not interfere with the corporations’ business?

Look at the world. In what other countries are the leaders practicing such childish politics, throwing away the lives of the people, and sitting idle in the face of an economy that is seriously ill? Will simply praising the way development is progressing in China and saying that they will place Korea at the center of the Northeast Asian block of countries automatically establish the country as such? How many people do they think will be inspired by “the age of the $20,000 income” as they witness the current political situation, economic policies, and the situation in the market? What policies have they come up with in response to the many companies that have gone into chaotic decline, the increasing cries of the unemployed, and the disintegrating foundations of education and scientific technology?

Chairman Choi said that he would willingly cooperate with the government to address the problems in the economy and the lives of the people, but what has he actually done to cooperate? Has he ever exerted his leadership by sitting down and deliberating over a bill to reduce the difficulties in the lives of the people? If President Roh has dealt poorly with the economy, has Choi suggested any alternatives in which people can put their confidence? He said that he would discuss methods of reviving the economy with the president after he becomes the Chairman of the party with more than half of the seats at the National Assembly, but what has he done with the president besides make a brief statement merely for appearance’s sake that they ought to build a committee to strengthen the foundation for development?

Look around. China, India, Brazil, and Russia are rapidly emerging as strong players in the world’s economic order. India is following close behind China’s two-digit growth rate with a growth rate of 7 percent. Our growth rate, on the other hand, halts at a rate of only 2 percent, triggering a vicious circle throughout the economic sectors of investment, employment, and consumption.

Brazilian President Lula of the Laborers’ Party, who came to power around the same time as President Roh, has revived Brazil by focusing on policies of economic growth and national reconstruction and by leaving behind his leftist ideologies and populism. That the Roh’s regime is only one year old can no longer be an excuse. We have had enough of all their promises that they will show us results in five or ten years. They should not cover up their irresponsibility and inability to find a solution for the economy and the people with some feast of words.

The U.S. economy has rallied rapidly, and Japan is also riding on that wave. However, it is projected that Korea will belong to the group showing the slowest economic revival in the world. The technical gap between us and advanced countries such as Japan are increasingly widening. We can show nothing to contradict the analysis that we will fall behind Singapore and Taiwan during the next 10 years. Rather, we will be left behind as a solitary country without a Free Trade Agreement (FTA), which currently covers 70 percent of world trade.

We demand that President Roh and Chairman Choi show strong, positive leadership by putting together a comprehensive plan to allow both the governing and opposition parties to effect a breakthrough in the economy and improve the lives of the people. If they continue to stir up political strife almost daily and to only focus on the success of the coming general election, neither President Roh nor Chairman Choi will be able to avoid punishment for causing the deterioration of our national destiny.