Korean politics in dilemma over South-South conflict
Korean politics in dilemma over South-South conflict
  • By Park Tae-woo
  • 승인 2013.10.15 21:29
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 It is a pity that our society is split into two ideological circles, especially regarding North Korea. This so-called South-South conflict continuously produces negative social and political results hindering sound political development in Korea.

 Furthermore, it is shameful that some pro-North Korea factions in South Korea do not accept the legitimacy of the foundation of the Republic of Korea, claiming instead that the Pyongyang government is a more legitimate power on the peninsula.

 They do not criticize all the wrongdoings such as the launching of the Korean War by North Korea in 1950, a torpedo attack on the naval ship Cheonan by North Korea, and the Yeonpyeong Island shelling, and all the brutal acts of repression and oppression against ordinary North Korean citizens by a despotic totalitarian dynastic dictatorship.

 North Korea recently delivered very bad news. They announced a unilateral postponement of family reunions which was slated for late last month.

 The North’s Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland mentioned the “unbearable aggressiveness of the conservative forces” in the South as the major reason for its decision to postpone the reunions.

 They also criticized Seoul for conducting an investigation of Lee Seok-ki, a lawmaker of the minor leftist opposition Unified Progressive Party (UPP) who is suspected of plotting to subvert the government.

 These political strategies toward South Korea paradoxically indicate that the North Korean spy agency, which deals with South Korean affairs, and the pro-North Korea forces in our society are united to deliver a fatal blow to the stability of our society, always trying to create the schism to divide our people.

 North Korea also defined the ongoing investigations of Rep. Lee and other members of the UPP as a witch-hunt to suppress the patriotic forces in South Korea.

 Given these kinds of deeds and words made by North Korea, it must be an avoidance of sacred responsibility to protect our security and also Koreans from the wicked maneuvering of North Korean political intervention in South Korean politics to destabilize the South, if our government and people keep silent on this issue.   

 Some young progressives ask this kind of question: Why does the ruling camp push ahead with the disbandment of the UPP and try to strip some UPP lawmakers of their National Assembly seat?

 In a motion signed by all of its 153 legislators, the conservative ruling Saenuri Party said, “If Rep. Lee maintains his Assembly seat until the court’s final ruling, it will highly likely lead to further leaks of state secrets and confusion in the normal functioning of the state.”

 I agree with the party's official position.

 We understand that the Saenuri Party’s intention seems to be depriving the pro-North Korea legislator of his Assembly seat through a political trial, not waiting until the slow judiciary procedure is over.

 Rep. Lee 's words and deeds allegedly preparing for the sabotage of major facilities when another inter-Korean war breaks out, may be more than enough to strip Lee of his seat.

 In the same context, the organization to do such kinds of activities should be disbanded to eradicate all the sources of further treason in the future. Judging from the past harmful activities of the UPP, it must be disbanded immediately.

 More members of the conservative party are even calling for the dissolution of the UPP, saying even if it succeeds to expel Lee, another follower of North Korea will succeed his Assembly seat. To distinguish the sound progressive from the pro-North Korea old left, this kind of outdated political party (UPP), I hope, must be disbanded as soon as possible.

 We have to carefully analyze whether all the progressive politicians and civic groups, including even some of UPP members, are followers of North Korea or not, who believe in the anachronistic revolutionary theory such as Juche Ideology like Rep. Lee.

 Most progressives endeavor to support the working poor and other weaker strata and underdogs of society for the progress of humankind and history. It is important to differentiate reasonable progressive groups from members of the old-left who respect the failed regime in the northern half of the peninsula.

 I personally think that the UPP's reaction and denial is not based upon truth and reasonable argument. They must admit that they do not love the constitutional order of the Republic of Korea and its political orientation allied to the U.S. Instead, they should accept the simple fact that they support the North Korean regime.

 In the official party ceremonies, they did not sing a national anthem (Aegukga), instead, they used to sing revolutionary songs such as “Red Flag,” which is strong evidence.

 Lee and his colleagues cannot and should not justify what is called pro-North Korea activities and a plot against the government. I am very sorry that they are not admitting the sins they committed to harm the interests of the Republic of Korea in general.

 There is no need to utter other reasons. They must be faithful to the constitutional order and law of this country for they are a political party regulated by the political law here. I do think that they must fully cooperate with the legal procedures of the ongoing investigations in the future.

 As long as the peninsula remains divided, the negative political development manipulated by North Korea to divide the public with the different spectrum of different ideologies, and small regionalism of small politics, would never disappear on this soil.

 Thus, it is my desire that the false progressives must be controlled within the legal boundaries. Like the two wings of a bird, balanced harmony and confrontation of the sound right and sound left could be a necessity for the sound development of South Korean politics in the future.

(Prof. Park Tae-woo researching at the Institute of Sustainable Development in Korea University is currently president of the Institute of Blue Politics and Economy. He has also lectured Korean politics in National Chengchi University in the Republic of China as a visiting professor and visiting scholar)


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