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One Unanimous Voice from Ruling and Opposition Parties, But….

One Unanimous Voice from Ruling and Opposition Parties, But….

Posted August. 09, 2004 21:49,   


The ruling and the opposition parties simultaneously declared their stance on Monday to take strong countermeasures regarding the Chinese distortion of Goguryo history.

However, they have internal situations that are different from each other. The Uri Party is inclined towards a cautious approach concerning diplomatic relations, while the GNP persists in pushing for a strong protest and a demand for revision even though they may cause diplomatic conflicts.

On the same day, the Uri Party decided in the party-government council with the Foreign Ministry to take diplomatic and political measures as well, not to mention scientific measures, since this distortion of Goguryo history stems from political problems. It also agreed to confront the situation with stronger countermeasures than those taken by the government.

The party leadership still emphasized approaching this issue with prudence. On the same day in a standing committee meeting, Party Chairman Shin Gi-nam asked his party, “We have to cope with this situation in a calm and prudent manner as a ruling party.” The floor leader Cheon Jung-bae said, “We should not confront this emotionally.”

Standing committee member Lee Mi-kyung even said, “Opposition parties should make loud voices on diplomatic issues. This makes the government easy to negotiate.”

It is in the same context that the ruling party-government council agreed on “role assignments” between the government and the party in the meeting.

Uri Party lawmakers criticized the Foreign Ministry for its moderate countermeasures in the meeting. However, they agreed that the Uri Party would take the “evil role” after hearing the ministry venting its dilemma, saying, “We have to be pragmatic in our diplomacy with China. Strong confrontation doesn’t guarantee profits.”

The plan to put the newly created “pan-government countermeasure committee” under the prime minister or the National Security Council also appears as an effort to reduce the Foreign Ministry’s burden.

On the other side though, the GNP is repeating its demand of strong countermeasures, including a demand for an official apology from the Chinese government.

GNP leader Park Geun-hye criticized the government, “Since the reason we work hard to live a good life is, at the end, to protect our sovereignty, how can we enjoy the well-being of our lives when our sovereignty is shaken from the root?”

Lee Han-gu, chairman of the GNP Policy Board, pressed the ruling power, saying, “The Uri Party lawmakers and those influential in Cheong Wa Dae who have a pro-Chinese attitude cannot help but being passive in coping with this issue. Nonetheless, they have to be more aggressive since this is an essential issue to our nation.”

Yeon-Wook Jung Min-Hyuk Park jyw11@donga.com mhpark@donga.com