[EDITORIALS]Stop the mudslinging

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[EDITORIALS]Stop the mudslinging

Partisan bickering is threatening to turn into bloodthirsty warfare. Only a day after a controversial remark made by Representative Song Sok-chan of the ruling Millennium Democratic Party, in which he referred to U.S. President George W. Bush as an "avatar of evil," and to the main opposition leader, Lee Hoi-chang, as a "root of evil," Representative Park Sung-kook of the Grand National Party called the Kim Dae-jung administration the "Red Guard for the Kim Jong-il regime."

From Day 1 of the parliamentary hearings that began Monday, the two camps have fired accusations. The ruling party has attacked the opposition by accusing Mr. Lee of "treacherous acts by family members over three generations," while the opposition slandered President Kim Dae-jung demanding that "family members and relatives of the president who are involved in bribery cases be punished even after their deaths." We are long used to slander and scuffles on the National Assembly floor, but these actions have reached a nadir of disrespect.

Indeed, the actions are all the more deplorable since the legislature is in the position to produce bipartisan strategy that can handle the issue of North Korea's weapons of mass destruction with the United States. The mudslinging going on at the National Assembly is akin to a fight between two unrelenting gangs. Both camps are looking to leave a dent without really getting to the bottom of things. Taking advantage of parliamentary immunity, the Millennium Democratic Party and the Grand National Party have launched allegations that the president's sons and Mr. Lee's eldest son are involved in financial scandals - without offering any proof. In addition, the two camps are recklessly slandering each other. In short, the National Assembly has been taken over by blind loyalists such as Mr. Song, who once compared his loyalty to President Kim to that of a salmon, and by political hit men.

The leadership of the ruling and the opposition parties should lead their members to reflection and prudence. The ruling party should apologize for Mr. Song's remark made against President Bush. The oppositon should issue explanations and apologies for Mr. Park's remark. Only then will the public look with renewed admiration toward the National Assembly.

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