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An Interview With Park Geun-hye

Posted November. 08, 2005 07:25,   


Park Geun-hye, leader of the main opposition Grand National Party (GNP), expressed concern on November 7 over the controversy regarding alleged pro-North Korean remarks made by Kang Jung-koo, a professor at Dongguk University, "If people like (professor Kang) wanders about, soon or later the Republic of Korea will crumble."

In an interview with Dong-A Ilbo, Park said, "The fact that the current government tries to protect and stand by a figure like Kang is a big problem. This will result in a second and a third Kang Jung-koo." She also criticized the Roh Moo-hyun administration’s policy towards the U.S., "Not only conservative Republicans but also Hilary Clinton, who is a strong candidate to run on the Democratic Party ticket for the next presidential election, considers South Korea to be in a state of a lapse of historical memory,” adding, “the Korea-U.S. relationship is in a serious state.”

Park insisted that assistance to North Korea should be linked with the return of South Korean prisoners of war and abductees. She criticized, "South Koreans also have a right to humanitarian assistance. We cannot let those prisoners who are still alive die without ever seeing their families again. This is not a country." She pointed out, "The government plans to issue national bonds to provide aid to North Korea, but right now, the low-and-middle classes are suffering from the economic difficulties. If the government assists the North with debt, it will provoke public anger."

Park called on the government to take a clear position on the UN General Assembly`s motion to adopt the resolution on human rights in North Korea, saying, "The international community is confounded by the government`s behavior, which advocates human rights day after day but ignores (N.K. human rights issues) and abstains from voting at the UN every year."

Regarding the issue of constitutional amendment, she commented, “A five-year single term retains problems for harboring national competitiveness. Although a four-year term with a possible second term may not be the supreme institutional setting, it may be a realistic alternative. However, it should be noted that the constitutional article regarding the national territory (which states that North Korea is territory of the Korean Peninsula) should never be amended.” Concerning the move to hold an inter-Korean summit, she said, “I am not against holding a summit, but I object to the political motives behind it.”

Yong-Gwan Jung yongari@donga.com