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[Opinion] A Childhood Game

Posted March. 31, 2007 07:03,   


If you ever lived in the country as a child, you would probably know that the “daejang” game is not always pleasant. Even if the one to play the “daejang,” the leader, is decided by rock-paper-scissors, it is still quite distressing if you are not selected as the leader. And if there is a strong kid who insists on becoming the leader all the time, it becomes everyone’s nightmare as it means you have to become his subordinate who follows his absurd orders and must do all the odd jobs. Of course, one might enjoy the game tremendously as you get to boast when you are on the receiving end of the game.

Gwon O-hong, who arranged clandestine meetings between Ahn Hee-jeong, President Roh Moo-hyun`s right-hand man, and a high-ranking North Korean official, disclosed on Thursday during an interview with Dong-A Ilbo, “The purpose of Ahn’s meeting with the North Korean official was to discuss the possibility of holding an inter-Korean summit that we would call a "daejang’ game. The subject of the discussion was the sending of special envoys to successfully conclude the summit.” Gwon also added that President Roh, the “daejang” of the game, was also fully informed about the progress through the reports of Lee Ho-cheol, the presidential secretary for information and state affairs monitoring.

Although Ahn once expressed his ambition to become the secretary general of the ruling party soon after Roh took office, he has been deprived of all official positions ever since he was convicted in charges of illegally raising funds for the 2002 presidential campaign. In short, he is a man with absolutely no authority or responsibility. If Gwon’s statement is true, the Roh administration has been relying on an illegitimate person to pave the way for an inter-Korean summit which might change the course of the nation. Although the administration argues that Ahn was selected because Pyongyang preferred Ahn who fully understands the mind of President Roh, the designation process appears similar to what has happened under the dictatorial regime of Kim Jong Il who does not bother to report state affairs to the public. You can imagine how unqualified Ahn is just from his manner of calling a summit a “daejang” game.

However, Unification Minister Lee Jae-joung said he did not think it was "a big problem,” raising suspicions that he might also consider an inter-Korean summit as a bit of a game. Although the Grand National Party mocks the process of Ahn’s meeting North Korean representatives, saying it is “village politics;” this is, in fact, worse than village politics. It is fortunate that it was disclosed in the process. If some sort of agreement at the level of a “daejang” game were reached, one would never know how much the South would have to pay for the deal this time.

Kim Chang-hyeok, Editorial Writer, chang@donga.com