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Rivals on same political spectrum visit Gwangju

May 18,2007
Hoping to use the past to promote their future, all of the presidential hopefuls from the liberal and independent parties yesterday flocked to Gwangju for an annual tribute to the city that led a bloody resistance against an authoritarian ruler 27 years ago.
Former Uri leaders Chung Dong-young and Kim Geun-tae were there, along with former Gyeonggi Province Governor Sohn Hak-kyu, who plans an independent bid for president.
Former Justice Minister Chun Jung-bae and former Prime Minister Han Myeong-sook were also present, placing flowers on the graves of the victims and addressing voters. Hundreds were killed in a May 1980 uprising during Chun Doo Hwan’s reign.
Democratic Party members, including Park Sang-cheon, the party’s chairman, also visited Gwangju, the party’s traditional stronghold. But they followed their own schedule, avoiding a possible encounter with the Uri people.
Park Sang-cheon of the Democratic Party and Chung Sye-kyun of Uri clashed recently about creating a third party together.
“Mr. Park and his idea of leaving certain Uri members [President Roh Moo-hyun and his followers] out of the new party is very wrong,” said Chung Sye-kyun of Uri yesterday at a press conference in Gwangju. “I don’t think all Democratic members agree with their chairman either.”
Holding a separate tribute, Park said, “Uri keeps attacking us every day, blaming us for not joining with them.”


By Chae Byung-gun, Kim Sung-tak JoongAng Ilbo [mina@joongang.co.kr]



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