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Former North Korean Official Gives Reunification Lecture

Former North Korean Official Gives Reunification Lecture

Posted October. 27, 2005 04:22,   


“The Cold War has ended. But has the confrontation between dictatorship and democracy, the cause of the cold war, also ended?” asked former secretary of North Korea’s Workers’ Party Hwang Jang Yop (photo) at breakfast lecture hosted by the National Development Institute (Director: Park Gwan-yong) yesterday. He also suggested that the South should pressure the North on human rights to win the ideological war.

Misguided North Korea policy-

“Some officials of major government agencies often say that the ideological rivalry between the South and the North came to an end,” said Hwang. “They argue that the North Korea policy should be overhauled and that we, the South and the North, should move toward an era of reconciliation and cooperation. It’s good to say.”

“But the South turning a blind eye to the same old North Korean dictatorship, which can be characterized as ‘the blind worship of the North Korean leader and feudal totalitarianism’ is a problem,” he said.

He added, “Some say Kim Jong Il was not the person they had thought he would be after a single visit to Pyongyang. But how can they possibly know? Even North Koreans don’t know who he really is, after 40 years under his rule.”

He expressed concerns that the democracy in the South has become vulnerable amid the ideological rivalry between the South and the North. He said, “No one is willing to take responsibility and defend democracy. I was told that it took the South several decades to outdo the North economically, but it took the North only five years to dominate the South psychologically.”

He also said “The North regards the U.S. as an imperialist power and the South as its colony. The North is intensifying, successfully, its reunification strategy to liberate the South.”

Human Rights Key to Judging North-

Hwang said, “The public is easily swayed by who says what, whether it be the ruling party or opposition parties. The public should be educated so that they can pass fair judgments on the North based on its human rights record, a fundamental value of democracy.”

He also said “I’m against the idea of reuniting the two countries by force. But we can’t afford to give up democracy. If we give up the democracy, we give up our lifeline.”

He also condemned proponents of distribution over growth. He said, “Some are talking about sharing wealth when they should focus more on developing the economy. We should not mistake a person as a fighter for democracy because he or she makes a speech at a protest.” He implied that the real fighters for democracy are those who defend democracy by contributing to Korea’s economic growth.

As for movement to find historical truth in the South, he reiterated, “They tend to focus on who cooperated with Japan during the period of Japanese colonial rule. It is of no use to dwell on the past. It is more important to talk about who have contributed more to democracy.”

Myoung-Gun Lee gun43@donga.com