[EDITORIALS]Get off the merry-go-roundAs the investigation into alleged irregularities involving the military service of the son of Lee Hoi-chang, the Grand National Party's presidential candidate, gets under way, the political parties have opened a new round of acrimonious exchanges. We are hoping that the prosecution quickly wraps up the investigation under the principle of strict neutrality.
This investigation began as Kim Dae-eop, a former officer at a military hospital who cooperated with the prosecution in an earlier investigation into these allegations, voiced new suspicions that Mr. Lee's son, Jeong-yeon, evaded mandatory military service. The GNP called the allegations slander. The substance of the investigation will focus on accusations that there was an effort to conceal an attempt by Mr. Lee's son to avoid service, a charge that has been heard for the last 5 years.
The GNP and the Millennium Democratic Party are clamoring over this issue since it will directly affect the results of the presidential election to be held at the end of this year.
The appearance of 10 GNP representatives at the Prosecutor General's office to request that this case not be placed with a special department is interference with an ongoing investigation. However, the questioning of Mr. Kim, to be held by the Seoul Prosecution Special Unit I, which has ties to Mr. Kim from an earlier inquiry in this case, is inappropriate, and it goes against the position of neutrality that the prosecution must uphold.
If the prosecution truly wants to keep political neutrality, a different division must be appointed to handle this matter, and if this is not possible, a prosecutor who has no ties to Mr. Kim should be named to handle the case.
Mr. Kim must show physical proof to support his contentions. He must reveal to the public as soon as possible, the "voice recordings of the Meeting for Military Service Evasion Cover-up Measures" that he has mentioned during a press conference.
Not providing clear material proof will only lead to more doubts on the charges and criticism that Mr. Kim's allegations were only a political ploy to raise suspicions. It is time to resolve the problems raised during the presidential election in 1997. To accomplish this the prosecution should assign the case without any meandering for a clear and strict investigation.