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Roh Promises Respect for Different Opinions

Posted March. 02, 2005 22:43,   


“It is not easy to acknowledge and respect those who have different opinions and criticize me, but since I have firm faith in democracy, I will always respect them,” President Roh Moo-hyun stressed on Wednesday.

“The core of democracy is dialogue and compromise, or reconciliation and tolerance. I will seek dialogue and compromises in dealing with different opinions,” he told the 37th national breakfast prayer meeting held at the Millennium Seoul Hilton Hotel.

This statement implies his will to shift his previous style of aggressive leadership when it comes to facing those who criticize him.

President Roh has clearly toned down since his last summer vacation in August. At the time, he said that unconditional compromise that he had been often asked for was not different from forcing him to accept something actually untrue and distorted.

“Making consensus among all the people is not an easy task. But when we hold an election by due rules and accept the results, and when the defeated is allowed another chance to win next time, then the principle and moral of democracy, I believe, will be truly realized. I will do my best to follow the principle. Please, pray for me to make my conscience awake all the time, and not to lose my courage and moderation,” he said at the breakfast prayer meeting.

He also expressed appreciation for giving him courage to stand still and not to be biased when politics faced regional prejudices and conflicts. Still, struggles exist, but President Roh asked for wisdom and power to settle things to help the people unite.

Meanwhile, Cheong Wa Dae expressed regret as to the destroyed wooden sign hung from the memorial shrine of Yun Bong-gil—South Korea`s independence activist who fought against Japan`s colonial rule—in Yesan, South Chungcheong Province. The wooden sign bears the calligraphy of former President Park Chung-hee.

“At the daily morning meeting for pending issues, many attendants said that now is not a revolutionary time so it is appropriate to seek legal and democratic procedures to solve unsatisfied issues,” presidential spokesman Kim Jong-min stated. The presidential office’s comment on a particular case is very unusual.

Jung-Hun Kim jnghn@donga.com