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National Assembly has done right for national security

Posted September. 06, 2013 03:43,   


The National Assembly on Wednesday voted with an overwhelming majority in favor of a motion for the arrest of Rep. Lee Seok-ki of the minor opposition United Progressive Party (UPP) accused of plotting to overthrow the government. Of 289 lawmakers present at a main parliamentary session, 258 voted yes on the motion, as other opposition parties – the Democratic Party and the Justice Party – decided to consent. The result of the voting showed that the ruling and opposition parties united in punishing forces who are seeking to overthrow the system of the Republic of Korea. With the approval of Lee`s arrest, he will be apprehended soon. A court will hold a hearing to determine if he will be detained.

In an address to the National Assembly ahead of the vote, Lee claimed that he had been "framed" for rebellion by the National Intelligence Service, which distorted his instruction to his party members not to carry guns and knives as an order to arm themselves with weapons. Does that mean UPP members carried firearms and knives? It is an absurd explanation. UPP Chairwoman Lee Jung-hee also made an absurd claim that the discussion of ways to capturing firearms and sabotaging major public facilities was a "joke." It is hard to believe whatever UPP people say from A to Z.

According to the government`s written approval for Lee`s arrest, the troubled lawmaker had organized the Revolutionary Organization (RO) with a view to carrying out a socialist revolution in South Korea and ordered RO members to make physical and technical preparations for destroying major infrastructure facilities and start a riot in the event of North Korea`s provocation of a war. He also allegedly tried to use the National Assembly as a "beachhead for revolution." The law enforcement authorities should solidify national security by leaving no stones unturned in investigating him for his criminal charges and punishing all the others involved in the case, regardless of their public statuses.

Separately from legal procedures against Lee, the parliament has other procedures to handle. Due to his election to the National Assembly on a proportional representation ticket through illegal primaries in last year`s legislative elections, Lee`s qualification has been put to a review by the parliament`s ethics committee. The panel should disqualify him for a parliamentary seat either by adding a charge of plotting a rebellion or filing a separate qualification review proposal. A suspect facing rebellion charges should no longer be treated as a representative. The same procedures should be taken for other UPP lawmakers, including Kim Jae-yeon, whose qualification review is also pending at the ethics committee. We cannot let North Korea followers use the National Assembly as a "beachhead for revolution."

The National Assembly should also fill the legal gap that does not allow the government to disband organizations that are pronounced by the Supreme Court as benefitting the enemy. Five "enemy-benefitting" groups still continue their activities even after the top court`s ruling. As Saenuri Party lawmaker Shim Jae-cheol has proposed a bill to legislate a law that allows the government to disband "criminal" groups, the National Assembly should immediately refer the bill to the plenary session. Groups that deny the legitimacy of the Republic of Korea or benefit enemies should not act freely any longer.