[FOUNTAIN]Fulfilling Low Expectations

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[FOUNTAIN]Fulfilling Low Expectations

"When I offered words of condolence for the late Yuk Young-su, wife of President Park Chung-hee, who was assassinated in 1974, President Park wiped his tears with a handkerchief and said, pointing to a bird outside the window, 'My situation is like the bird's.' When I told the president to adopt direct elections and promote democracy, President Park said, 'Mr. Kim, I don't have greed. My wife was shot to death by communists, and I have no intention to stay as president for long in this place, like a Buddhist temple.' Then, President Park said, 'If it becomes public knowledge in advance that I plan to pull out from politics, soon strange people will appear to take away the power.' President Park also told me to keep it a secret between us."

Former President Kim Young-sam recalls the meeting between the two political leaders at the Blue House in May 21, 1975, in his memoir published last year. Though it was known that the two leaders of the ruling party and of the opposition party met and discussed overall administrative and political activities, what was actually discussed had never been made public. After the meeting, Kim Young-sam was the subject of rumors about alleged tacit agreements and bribery. Criticizing Lee Hoi-chang, chairman of the Grand National Party, for establishing regular meetings with President Kim Dae-jung, former President Kim says proudly, "I had such a meeting only once while I was fighting Park Chung-hee's regime for 18 years."

Yeongsu, which is used to refer to a leader, originally meant a neckband or sleeve. To pick up clothes, one has to grab the neckband or sleeve first. Yeongsu refers to a motion like grabbing a neckband of sleeve, in other words, it alludes to the head or leader of the masses, who can affect the whole by moving a part. In 1965, when the ruling party led by Mr. Park and the opposition parties clashed over restarting diplomatic relationships with Japan and sending troops to Vietnam, Mr. Park and Park Sun-chun, chairman of the People's Democratic Party, met to seek a breakthrough in the confrontation. The media called the meeting the yeongsu meeting.

There was news that President Kim Dae-jung and chairman Lee Hoi-chang are going to have a yeongsu meeting -- again. If the meeting between the two political leaders happens, this would be the eighth meeting between the two. If the political situation improved and the nation were turned around through yeongsu meetings, we would not be in this shape. If they are going to follow in the useless path of past meetings, the two should not meet at all.



The writer is an editorial writer of the JoongAng Ilbo.

by Bae Myung-bok

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