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[Opinion] Politics

Posted December. 11, 2006 06:58,   


Zi Gong, one of Confucius’s pupils asked, “What is the job of politicians?” Confucius said, “They should have an abundance of food, sufficient armed forces, and people who follow and respect their leader in their country.” Again, Zi Gong asked, “If I have to give up one of them, what should I give up?” Confucius answered, “You should give up the army forces first.” The story gives us a lesson that a respectable government and a healthy economy are more important than self-reliant defense.

King Sejong is known as the best and wisest king throughout Korea’s history. The king did lots of things for better livelihood of his people, such as publishing many books about agriculture and encouraging development of science technology. In addition, King Sejong succeeded in ejecting the Jurchen tribe out of the land around the Yalu and Tumen Rivers. The border he defined at that time is very similar to that of today’s. Also, he created the Korean alphabet for the people who had difficulty learning the Chinese letters. At that time, a scholar named Choi Man-ri was strongly opposed to the idea of creating Korean letters. He said, “Only barbarians create their own letters” However, King Sejong did not give up on his will.

On October 8, several university students groups and civic groups held a conference called “Politics of the Sun-gun (military-first policy).” Kim Sam-suk, a participant in the conference, shamelessly praised the military-first policy of North Korea, saying, “Sung-gun, which means a good and wise king, sounds very similar to sun-gun, so we can say today’s meeting is to discuss the politics of a king…” Kim also said, “Everybody will want a brethren country to be powerful except for a very few,” “Thanks to military-first policies, the two Koreas have met with an opportunity to end their division,” and “The North is very proud of their military-first policy.”

Does this mean that there is actually a “wise king” in the North? As a matter of fact, Kim is the brother-in-law of Choi Ki-young, the Deputy Secretary-General of the Democratic Labor Party (DLP), now arrested for possible espionage for North Korea. Also, Kim himself lived behind the bars for four years because of being related to another espionage scandal in 1993. Kim has worked as an investigator of the Presidential Truth Commission on Suspicious Death. Was he trying to make a “coming out” as the world seems not to know his identity? Coincidentally, the North Korea’s Central News Agency advertised 2006 as the year of victory of their military-first politics. During the conference, one of the audience members criticized, “North Korea’s military-first policy is nothing but starving the people for the military. However, Kim has maybe performed meritorious deeds for the “wise king” in the North.

Yuk Jeong-soo, Editorial Writer, sooya@donga.com