North Korea and pro-North groups in South Korea have blatantly rattled Seoul since the June 2 local elections. At a time when President Lee Myung-baks office, administration and the ruling Grand National Party are reeling from their election defeat, pro-North groups are acting as if the whole world is theirs. The ruling camp is in charge of national security and seems to be under siege from both Koreas, raising fears over how it can rescue the country from crisis and protect national identity.
Though Seoul has banned South Koreans from visiting the North except for the Kaesong industrial complex and the Mount Kumgang resort area, the Rev. Han Sang-ryeol, a South Korean standing adviser to the pro-Pyongyang group Peoples Solidarity for Social Progress, defied the ban and made an illegal visit Saturday to the North, which praised him as a pro-reunification figure from the South.
Considering the Norths past behavior and the nature of the group, the formation of such a combined front is nothing new. When the North faced a political crisis in the wake of communisms collapse in the late 1980s, it invited pro-Pyongyang activists, such as including the Rev. Moon Ik-hwan and university student Im Su-kyung, to instill a reunification fantasy into them and shake South Korean society. With Pyongyang cornered by Seoul and the international community due to its torpedo attack on the Cheonan, it is performing another show by inviting a pro-North Korean activist from the South.
The goal of Han and his group seems to be toppling the Republic of Korea. Founded in 2007, the group is a typical pro-North and left-wing organization that holds ceremonies for fallen North Korean spies and guerillas as well as praise North Korean dictator Kim Jong Ils military-first policy by quoting the Rodong Sinmun, the official daily of the ruling North Korean Workers Party. Oh Jong-ryeol, a standing chairman of the committee on the groups foundation, urged the eradication of neo-liberalism and capitalism to liberate the people. The group also played a leading role in the anti-U.S. beef protests of May 2008. The pastor was often seen at the forefront of such rallies.
The North Korean military said Saturday that it will launch an all-out military strike to eliminate South Koreas means of psychological warfare, showing its intention to shake up the South.
Calls are mounting for a change in President Lee Myung-baks administration after the ruling Grand National Partys defeat in the local elections. While changes are necessary, the president and the ruling party should not make the mistake of being opportunistic as to undermine the countrys identity, which can be swayed helplessly by the North and pro-North groups. Something or someone who shakes up the country should never be tolerated.
People took to the streets across Seoul Saturday to cheer for the national soccer team in its opening World Cup game against Greece. Like air, it is easy to forget the importance of freedom and national security. If those who attempt to shake the countrys identity and system are uncontrolled, it will be impossible to live in a nation where the Red Devil soccer fans can freely cheer.