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[Editorial] “Ideological War” Cannot Resolve the Issue

[Editorial] “Ideological War” Cannot Resolve the Issue

Posted December. 12, 2004 23:04,   


Controversy over Representative Lee Chul-woo of the ruling Uri Party, who has joined Patriotic Front for National Liberation and allegedly worked as a spy, seems to have evolved into ideological warfare between the ruling and the opposition Grand National Party. Considering the issue as a “conspiracy of the GNP to create a political crisis in which people believe that public security is threatened,” the Uri Party declared it would take hard-line countermeasures against it. Meanwhile, the GNP warned that it will also raise a question to other former student activists among representatives of the Uri Party. If it goes on at this rate, Korean society will be once again caught up in a bitter ideological dispute. Resolution must be sought.

Both the ruling and the opposition party ought not to stretch the case. The key to the issue lies in some questions regarding Rep. Lee. Although he already served his term, was pardoned, rehabilitated, and elected by voters, raised questions should be answered. As Lee is a member of the ruling party dealing with national affairs, such a procedure is not too harsh. The investigation will not be difficult because records about the former case still exist, and witnesses involved in investigation, prosecution, and trial are all still alive. An objective and fair investigation will settle the issue.

However, the Uri Party describes the issue as a “match of the democratization activists versus the dictatorship which repressed them in the 1980s” and raise their voices, saying, “A battle is unavoidable.” The GNP, lest it lose the battle, bawls, “We will disclose the history of other representatives,” as if the ruling party is fraught with unconverted leftists. Neither of them sounds reasonable.

It is regrettable that the unfortunate past of the 1980s is used as a political tool like this. Whether they were democratization activists or people who suppressed them, it is questionable if they are as clean-handed from past offences to be so devoted to ideological attacks on the other side. An assessment will be done by people and history: it is the time to do their duty at this moment. The suspicion over Rep. Lee should be cleared away so that the National Assembly can work properly. It has failed to discuss the new year’s budget during the temporary session. The ruling and the opposition party should ask themselves if they are entitled to waste their session on such a futile dispute.