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Yoon: ‘Freedom, democracy, May 18 spirit equal constitutional spirit’

Yoon: ‘Freedom, democracy, May 18 spirit equal constitutional spirit’

Posted July. 18, 2022 08:00,   

Updated July. 18, 2022 08:00


On the occasion of the 72nd Constitution Day on Sunday, President Yoon Suk-yeol said, “I will join our great people to continue to follow the spirit of the Constitution.”

“I visited Gwangju one year ago. I reflected on the spirit of our Constitution in Gwangju where they shed blood to keep freedom and democracy,” President Yoon said in a Facebook post on the day. “The universal value of freedom and democracy, which was recovered through the spirit of the (May 18) Gwangju uprising, equals the spirit of the Constitution. The Constitution is order discovered through history and is the result of the nation having secured people’s freedom and rights,” adding, “Constitutional values including freedom and democracy, human rights, and rule of law are the origin of people’s unity, and the process of realizing constitutional values is the path towards prosperity and development.”

It is unusual that a President’s Constitution Day message mentions the May 18 Democratization Movement in Gwangju. According to the presidential office, President Yoon believes if people’s aspiration for democratization in the 1980s brought people together, while the spirit of the Constitution that started with the spirit of the Gwangju uprising to continue with freedom and democracy, human rights, and rule of law at the current point in time is the origin that will bring people together.”

When paying respect at the May 18 National Cemetery in Gwangju on last year’s Constitution Day when he was a presidential candidate, Yoon said, “Paying respect to patriotic martyrs who safeguarded the constitutional spirit of freedom and democracy with their blood substitutes my message of commitment to the safeguarding of the Constitution on this Constitution Day.”

After his inauguration, President Yoon was joined by senior presidential secretaries and ruling party lawmakers while attending the memorial ceremony for the May 18 uprising. “Freedom and justice, all citizens of the Republic of Korea who love truth, are citizens of Gwangju City,” the president said at the time to express his commitment to national unity.

Kwan-Seok Jang jks@donga.com