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Ex-President’s Words Create Controversy

Posted November. 09, 2005 03:02,   


For the first time in a long time, former President Kim Dae-jung made a “political remark” on November 8, which has stirred controversy over the interpretation of the real meaning in political circles.

Advice to the Ruling Uri Party-

The former president met the interim leadership of the Uri Party, including the party’s interim head Chung Se-kyun, who paid a courtesy call on him to the “KDJ presidential library” in Donggyo-dong, Seoul. Kim said, “The current approval rating for the Uri Party is the lowest ever because traditional supporters have turned their back on the party,” adding, “It should strive for winning back the votes of the traditional supporters.”

In the meeting which lasted for an hour and a quarter, the former president offered the ruling camp plenty of stinging advice and well-wishing remarks, saying, “The Uri Party is currently facing many challenges, which I believe is because the party is far from perfect in terms of politics that the public wants.”

He also said, “Under the presidential system, it is neither a ruling party’s role nor desirable that the ruling party publicly points out the faults of the president.”

Is the Uri Party the Successor of the Former President?-

In a briefing held after he returned from the meeting to the National Assembly, Chun Byung-hun, Uri Party spokesman, introduced that the former president’s remark, “I’m not sure about what you think about this, but I believe you are my political successors.”

Bae Ki-sun, secretary general of the party and former close aide of Kim, added, “The former president meant that the participatory government is the successor of the people’s government.”

As the remark on “political successor” came under the spotlight, the former president’s aides reportedly explained, “The remark was a well-wishing remark meaning that there is a deep underlying bond, as many of the attendees of the meeting were those who worked in the same parties with Kim in the past.” They also reportedly requested that the Uri Party correct the intention of the remark.

Yoo Jong-pil, spokesman for the Millennium Democratic Party, said, “Representatives of the Millennium Democratic Party, including party chairman Han Hwa-gap, have heard such a remark from Kim more than 10 times. It seems that the situation of the Uri Party was so dire that it had to arbitrarily take advantage of this.”

Phone Conversation between Two Former Presidents-

It was belatedly reported that former President Kim Young-sam called Kim on November 6. Immediately after the phone conversation, Kim Young-sam told his aides, “I didn’t visit him even when he was recently hospitalized. But I feel good after calling him.”

Some say that the estranged relationship between the two former presidents might be restored, considering that Kim Young-sam has publicly expressed his extreme hostility toward Kim Dae-jung. Kim Young-sam is reportedly considering paying a personal visit to Kim Dae-jung who had been hospitalized because of pneumonia.

Others also interpret the reconciling atmosphere between the two as a move associated with the shakeup of the political circles.