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NPAD leadership continues to denounce attack on U.S. envoy

NPAD leadership continues to denounce attack on U.S. envoy

Posted March. 07, 2015 07:01,   


"From anti-U.S. to pro-U.S.?"

Insiders and outsiders of the main opposition New Politics Alliance for Democracy (NPAD) are asking the question as its leadership continues to strongly denounce Thursday`s attack on U.S. Ambassador to South Korea Mark Lippert. Such a stance is in stark contrast with the center-left party`s generally critical stance on the United States. In 2012, Han Myeong-sook, the then leader of the United Democratic Party, the NPAD`s predecessor, participated in a public rally opposing the Seoul-Washington free-trade agreement.

"The incident was a grave act of crime against Ambassador Lippert of the United States, one of our most important allies, which cannot be tolerated," NPAD Chairman Moon Jae-in said during a visit to the U.S. Embassy in Seoul on Friday.

Mary Tarnowka, acting deputy chief of mission of the U.S. Embassy in Seoul, quoted Lippert as saying that the assault on him would not weaken the Seoul-Washington alliance, conveying a message calling for stronger ties between the two allies.

During the opposition party`s supreme council meeting, Moon also praised Lippert for "acting honorably" after the attack while sending orchards to the U.S. embassy as a token of his wish for the envoy`s speedy recovery. Moon plans to visit Lippert in the hospital next week.

NPAD insiders and outsiders view Moon`s attitude as an attempt to distance the party from North Korea and pro-North groups in the South and to get closer to the U.S. One NPAD lawmaker said that Moon, who has been taking a strategy of expanding the party`s support base in the middle by taking a right turn, is "pre-emptively drawing a line" from North Korea sympathizers.

Earlier Friday, the party notified reports that Moon would meet with Deputy Chief of Mission Leslie Bassett of the U.S. embassy, only to take back the announcement. Bassett is a former deputy chief of mission of the embassy in Seoul and took office as U.S. ambassador to Paraguay early this year. An NPAD official explained that it "made a mistake" while hurriedly arranging Moon`s visit.