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“Korea Suffers from Legitimacy Crisis”

Posted September. 09, 2004 21:52,   


Former prime ministers and former chairmen of the National Assembly, including other elder statesmen, have announced a declaration on the current state of political affairs. The elders in political, governmental, judicial, and educational circles, numbering 1,074, expressed concerns in the declaration for the national identity regarding the controversy over the abolishment of the National Security Law.

More than 350 persons gathered at the Korea Press Center in Seoul on September 9 and announced the “9/9 Declaration on Current Situation,” saying, “The Republic of Korea is facing its first ever and biggest security and identity crisis since the constitution.” The participants included former Prime Minister Kang Young-hoon, former justice of the Supreme Court Chung Ki-seung, former National Defense Minister Lee Jong-gu, and others.

In a separate resolution, they also insisted that “President Roh Moo-hyun, who advocates the abolishment of the National Security Law, should be impeached.”

The elders said in the declaration, “The current government is disrupting the root of the nation by stirring up ideological confrontations with pending national issues like economy and security set aside,” adding, “The party in power should stop the unilateral decision and promotion of the plans like the transfer of the administrative capital, abolishment of the National Security Law, and clearing past history, and stop the split of national opinion.”

They also said, “Under the governmental policies that are centered uniformly on the left, the free democracy and the market economy are being bruised,” and added, “Security pacts with the U.S. should be solidified, and North Korea and their followers should be strictly punished. And in that way, we should guard the Republic of Korea that was established with the sweat and blood of our patriots.”

The elder personalities attempted to march toward Cheong Wa Dae to visit President Roh with their protests right after the declaration, but the plan was abandoned because of the intervention of police near the press center.

The elders who have supported the declaration under the name, “People who are declaring an emergency state for the protection of freedom and democracy of Republic of Korea,” include 1,074 persons: seven former prime ministers, five former chairmen of the National Assembly, 49 former ministers, four former representatives of political parties, 121 former assemblymen, 21 political and governmental personalities, 33 judicial personalities, 31 educational personalities, 41 former diplomats, 501 retired generals, and others.

Yang-Hwan Jung Yi-Young Cho ray@donga.com lycho@donga.com