[EDITORIALS]Dealings With North Bewildering

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[EDITORIALS]Dealings With North Bewildering

The fiasco involving the South Korean delegates who participated in the Liberation Day joint events in Pyongyang is becoming, as the writer Lewis Carroll might say, curiouser and curiouser. It is clear that the Ministry of Unification used the southern branch of Pan-Korea Alliance for Reunification to keep in touch with the North prior to the Liberation Day ceremonies. The organization was labeled an "illegal organization," for committing an act advantageous to the enemy, according to a Supreme Court ruling in 1997. Therefore, whether the prosecutors would consider prior contact between the North and South branches of the Pan-Korea Alliance before the ceremony as violating the National Security Act is not certain. Still, people are questioning the reason why government institutions did not inquire into the illegal conduct of the South Korean delegates even after they realized the problems. The issue of asking responsibility of the officials concerned will be brought out since the incident has stained government credibility.

The unification ministry used the documents sent by the North via Pan-Korea Alliance in deciding to permit the South Korea delegates' Pyongyang visit. It has been known that Minister Lim Dong-won reportedly decided to permit the Pyongyang visit on Aug. 14 and notified the North of his permission through the Pan-Korea Alliance. More surprising is the Pan-Korea Alliance's protest that the government used the alliance to contact the North every time North-South talks came to a halt, and that public security authorities already knew about the alliance's illegal conduct. The government must disclose the truth and the whole story of the affair.

It is not a normal exercise of sovereign power when the Supreme Court rules the Pan-Korea Alliance as a pro-communist organization, the unification ministry uses it as an unofficial contact with the North and then prosecutors investigate the organization for possibly benefitting the enemy. Everything turned into a comedy when we saw prosecutors seeking to penalize the organization for committing pro-North activities for what they have done for the unification ministry. Needless to say, the Pan-Korea Alliance and the people are confused at the North Korea policies, since government institutions took contradicting action against the Alliance.

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