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President Roh Calls for Abolition of National Security Law

President Roh Calls for Abolition of National Security Law

Posted September. 05, 2004 21:44,   


President Roh Moo-hyun said on September 5, “We should nullify the National Security Law and revise necessary criminal clauses in order to defend the nation.”

President Roh took part in special talks of “Current Affairs Magazine 2580” of MBC and said, “Isn’t it better to abolish old-fashioned remains of a dictatorship period, put them in a sheath, and send them to a museum if we are going towards an epoch of national sovereignty where people are the head of the nation and human rights are respected?”

It is quite scandalous since President Roh’s comment came out during conflicts between government agencies concerning opinions on the abolition of the National Security Law. Recently, the Supreme Court and the Constitutional Court made rulings against the nullification of the National Security Law and constitutional appeals, while the National Human Rights Commission of Korea recommended its abolition.

President Roh indicated in the talks that “in the past, the National Security Law was used to punish those who were against the government instead of being used to punish those who endangered the nation, and there were enormous suppression of human rights and inhumane behavior. This is a part of shameful history for Korean society and an obsolete relic of the dictatorship.”

“It can be confusing to interpret about whether or not the National Security Law is constitutional, but it can be a bad law. We have to see it as a historical decision rather than just its legal aspects. Finally, the Republic of Korea will move towards a civilized nation when the National Security Law is abolished”, insisted President Roh.

In this regard, Cheong Wa Dae spokesman Kim Jong-min explained, saying “It does not mean that the government will present a proposal repealing the National Security Law. It will be carried out through the convergence of opinions from the ruling Uri Party and the National Assembly. And during this process, we will not enforce it too harshly even though the opinions are different from the ideas of President Roh.

“We will consider the president’s mention as important and accept people’s opinions broadly. Since there is persistence in revising the National Security Law within the party, we will continue the process of deciding our party’s opinions by accepting different opinions”, said Lee Bu-young, the chairman of the ruling Uri Party at a press conference after his visit to China.

“The president’s remark is a frontal refusal against the Constitutional Court and the Supreme Court’s emphasis on the need for the existence of the National Security Law. Could the President disregard the law in this way?” asked GNP leader Park Geun-hye.

Jung-Hun Kim Min-Hyuk Park jnghn@donga.com mhpark@donga.com