[EDITORIALS]When an angry man tapes

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[EDITORIALS]When an angry man tapes

The tape recorded by Choi Gyu-seon could be a Pandora's box. The tape is full of things that, if true, could shake the people's trust in the Kim Dae-jung administration, destroying the government's morality and dignity in one fell swoop. If Mr.Choi's description of the Kim government at its inception is true, we simply have to ask whether we are living in a democratic society or in the Joseon Dynasty, a time when power struggles were rampant in the court behind the scenes. The tape suggests what people might have done to get the president's ear, conflicts based on pettiness, shameless bargaining and a president surrounded by sycophants.

What Mr. Choi says on the tape has not been confirmed. We stress that he made the tape two days before he appeared before the prosecution. He must have felt a strong grudge for being singled out. He must have exaggerated his stature in the ruling camp and tried to touch others' sore spots. That is why we cannot believe him entirely. Neither can we disregard what he says.

Mr. Choi's words concerning the president are especially intriguing. President Kim allegedly told Mr. Choi, "The national warehouse is empty. You and I should save this country./Gyu-seon, give Daewoo a hand. They played a big role to get me elected in the presidential election./Your status in the ruling camp would become different. You should grow under my arms." We wonder whether the president really said such words with confidence and affection. At the same time, we are led to suspect that the scandal involving Mr. Choi and the president's third son, Kim Hong-gul, resulted from President Kim's negligence and acquiescence.

Mr. Choi's recounting of conflicts within the ruling camp is shocking. According to his observation: The president's first son does not get along well with his younger brother, Hong-gul. The National Intelligence Service confronted the Blue House. The Donggyodong faction's de facto leader, Kwon Roh-kap, allegedly said, "I will hold up the umbrella to protect you, Gyu-seon. Get inside the umbrella." This seems to say that the Kim administration is run by his family, close aides and vassals.

We must find out the truth. Nobody believes the Blue House officials who denied Mr. Choi's taped allegations. Mr. Choi said there are those who are threatened because his mouth can disrupt the government and could force the president to step down. What does that mean? We should know if someone really said to Mr. Choi, "Lest you overturn the country, you should flee abroad." Or did Mr. Choi really do as he said: "I gave 300 certified checks of 1 million won ($770) each to Hong-gul." President Kim should come forward. He should explain things related to him regardless of the prosecution's investigation. It is the least he can do right now.

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