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[Opinion] “Yeouido Branch of Agora Party”

Posted July. 25, 2008 08:53,   


Politicians have become used to being insulted. However, they are enraged with the expression of “the second company of a party.” Under the Chun Doo-hwan government, the opposition Democratic Korea Party was branded as “second company of the ruling Democratic Justice Party” and discarded by the public. Under the leadership of Roh Moo-hyun, the Democratic Party and the Uri Party were called “the second company of the Grand National Party” and “the second company of the Workers’ Party of North Korea,” respectively.

On Wednesday, Democratic Party leader Chung Se-kyun met with 20 members of Agora, a Web site designed to promote debate on portal Daum, and said, “I’m about to cry to see you.” Watching Chung’s response, the nation’s lawmakers said the DP under the leadership of Chung might be the branch of the Agora Party. While meeting with Agora members, Chung said, “I could not sleep at all after receiving a call from you.” Was he so impressed by his scheduled meeting with the members of Agora, one of few remaining groups, which have waged illegal demonstrations? Given his response, Chung should not be enraged at the expression of “the Yeouido Branch of the Agora Party.” Rather, he should seek consolation in the fact that the DP is not described as “second company of Agora.”

It’s the party’s own fault. The party suffered crushing defeats in the 2007 presidential election and the 2008 general elections. Nevertheless, it has been anxious to jump on the bandwagon of candlelight vigils, instead of analyzing the reason of its failure and trying to be reborn. The lack of its self-examination has inevitably resulted in double-faced activities. On Wednesday, Chung promised to Agora members to prevent Korea Broadcasting System President Chung Yun-joo from being fired. Immediately after his inauguration, Roh Moo-hyun appointed Seo Dong-gu, his media adviser during the presidential campaign, as KBS president. As soon as Seo was appointed, then KBS President Park Kwon-sang stepped down even before his tenure ended. Park had been close to former President Kim Dae-jung. The incumbent president of KBS, who succeeded Seo, was also chosen by Roh. Jung definitely understands the history of KBS.

Think about the beef negotiation. Is the DP entitled to criticize the government, along with Agora members? When former Foreign Affairs and Trade Minister Song Min-soon and Trade Minister Kim Jong-hoon asked to make a decision over beef imports to ratify the free trade agreement with the United States, Roh refused, saying, “We’ll have a beef negotiation if the United States would ratify the agreement. However, no one can guarantee the ratification.” That means Roh only cared about the FTA and his own political status after his resignation, instead of worrying over mad cow disease. Democratic Party leader Chung should not say he did not know the story.

Editorial Writer Kim Chang-hyeok (chang@donga.com)