[EDITORIAL] Thoughts on Mr. Hahn's Speech

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[EDITORIAL] Thoughts on Mr. Hahn's Speech

In a National Assembly speech laying out his party's positions, Hahn Hwa-kap, Supreme Council member of the Millennium Democratic Party, suggested that the ruling party and the opposition declare a cease-fire on political wrangling, at least for this year. Lee Hoi-chang, president of the Grand National Party, also said the same thing in his speech Tuesday. Now that the two sides have agreed to put a stop to political quarrels, we hope things will develop that way.

Yet as we look into Korea's political reality, we cannot help but feel doubts. To put a stop to a fight, a reconciliatory handshake with true intentions is the first order of the day. The two sides are calling for a halt to political wrangling, but in actuality they are busy vilifying the other. Mr. Lee's tone was harsh when he criticized the government and the ruling party for a "new authoritarianism and new government-directed economic management," while Mr. Hahn stuck pins into the opposition with the mention of the spy agency's diversion of funds. Their announcement that they will stop the strife is no different from doling out medicine after infecting someone first. In particular, the gaps in their opinions of the probe into the spy agency's funds and tax audits of some news companies casts a shadow on the prospects of a politics of mutual survival.

A consumptive politics of confrontation should not be allowed to go on, if the troubled economy is to be rejuvenated and if fluid inter-Korean relations are to be handled well. Political warfare should no longer put a damper on the issues close to the heart of the general public. Both camps must lay aside their confrontational attitudes and take a step forward on the road of reconciliation. A change in attitude on the part of the ruling camp, as the party with more responsibility for shaping the political landscape, is the greater need. Such change can induce a positive response from the opposition, which pledged "supra-partisan cooperation" at the end of last year. Seeking political stability with the recent hard-line politics directed at the opposition and the press is like catching a fish in the woods.

We also note Mr. Hahn's words of reflection,: "In pushing reform, we were inexperienced, at times not thorough enough. There was much trial and error." Such self-examination can prove to be a key step toward true reconciliatory politics.
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