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Pres. Lee Blasts Violent Party Clashes in Parliament

Posted January. 13, 2009 07:59,   


President Lee Myung-bak yesterday criticized recent bipartisan clashes over contentious legislation that degenerated into violence.

“It was painful to watch some people break the doors of an Assembly meeting room with a sledgehammer. It was like an assault on democracy,” he said in his eight-minute biweekly radio address.

“Today I would like to talk about the serious political crisis confronting the nation that is as detrimental as the economic crisis.”

He said the physical clashes at the National Assembly made him doubt whether Korea is ready to chair this year`s Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development Ministerial Council Meeting and the G20 Summit, adding, “Without advanced politics, Korea cannot become an advanced nation.”

“It is especially regrettable that at a time when the government and the private sector alike are working hard to raise Korea`s brand value, politicians who should be supporting and leading such efforts are standing in their way.”

“Korea’s hard-earned democratization is the envy of the world as much as our industrialization is. The violence at the National Assembly, however, has tainted such a reputation and made our future hang in the balance,” he said.

“Democracy and violence never stand together. Unlike the military regimes of the past where there was no other way to express resistance except for violent protests, there are better ways to voice your thoughts through elections now that democracy has settled in Korea after five direct presidential elections. Times have clearly changed.”

Saying free democracy always comes with sacrifice and responsibilities, President Lee added, “If nothing is done about the violent incidents at the legislature, there will be no political progress.”