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“Not Doing Credit to the Assemblymen’s Gold Badge”

Posted December. 14, 2004 22:07,   


National Assembly Speaker Kim Won-ki and the floor leaders of the four ruling and opposition parties for once got together to look back on and express regret over the current situation of the 17th National Assembly. They met at a seminar held on December 14 at the National Assembly representatives’ hall by the “Society for True Politics,” the basis for power holders within the Uri Party. The theme was “Is the 17th National Assembly going in the right direction?” Assembly Speaker Kim did not hide his displeasure over the disruption of the National Assembly, stating, “I would not have agreed to deliver congratulatory remarks if I had known the theme of the seminar. As the assembly speaker I feel great regret,” in an expressionless face.

Rep. Kim Deog-ryong, GNP floor leader lamented, “Politicians should bring the people together and ease their worries, but on the contrary, they are dividing the people and triggering conflicts. Politics at the current state is shameful.”

Rep. Chun Young-se of the Democratic Labor Party urged dialogue, saying, “The assembly speaker and the four floor leaders should lock the doors and hold discussions all night.”

Floor Leader Lee Nak-yeon of the Millennium Democratic Party provided a negative outlook, stating, “The people will suffer for a considerable time because, though the government and National Assembly are aware of ‘what to do,’ they are not aware of ‘how to do it.’”

On the other hand, Rep. Chun Jung-bae of the Uri Party was the only one to provide a positive opinion, insisting, “Politics of money and personal connections are disappearing, and sincere and rational parliamentary politics is taking root.”

After these remarks, experts from the academia and civic groups criticized the political arena through presentations and discussions. However, party leaders and assemblymen left immediately after the remarks of the party leaders, leaving only 30 people in the audience to observe the seminar to the end.

Meanwhile, voices called for a “truce” on December 14, regarding the all-out controversy regarding Rep. Lee Chul-woo of the Uri Party, an alleged member of the North Korea Workers’ Party. This was because leading and opposition parties came to acknowledge that more was being lost than gained through the controversy.

Chairman Bae Ki-sun of the Uri Party’s Countermeasure Committee on Fabricated Espionage Cases said, “It is not desirable to take on hard-line stances in national affairs,” and Rep. Kim Bu-kyum urged, “We should end this issue by receiving the GNP’s apologies and escape the current gridlock by introducing and acknowledging temporarily the effect of the National Security Law.”

Leaders of People’s Thoughts, Society of National Development Strategies, Meeting for New Political Demands, and Politics of Integrity—groups within the Grand National Party— held a meeting on December 13 and agreed that “ideological battles will not gain consensus from the younger generation. The issue must be resolved politically.”

Jong-Koo Yoon Min-Hyuk Park jkmas@donga.com mhpark@donga.com