[EDITORIALS]Shut up and deal

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[EDITORIALS]Shut up and deal

Mud is flying between the election camps of Roh Moo-hyun, the ruling Millennium Democratic Party presidential candidate, and Lee Hoi-chang, the opposition Grand National Party candidate. As election day draws near, the two are employing extreme black-and-white theories in last minute pitches to put down each other about North Korea resuming its nuclear programs.

"Lee Hoi-chang advocates conflicts between South and North Korea," says an attack by the ruling party. That's met by this line from the opposition party: "Roh Moo-hyun is a follower of North Korea."

In interviews by the media and in street campaigns and advertisements, the opposition party asks, "Stability, or instability?" Meanwhile, the ruling party demands that voters make this choice: "War or peace?"

Reasonable answers about how to resolve North Korea's nuclear issues are being pushed to the back burner. Instead, endless parrying, ruthless propagandizing and fierce mud-slinging have taken over.

Meanwhile, schemes of "red-baiting" and "reverse red-baiting" are being adopted in the campaigns. Mr. Lee says, "After North Korea's Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland slandered me as 'pro-war,' Mr. Roh, as if being choreographed by Pyeongyang, denounced me using the same word." Mr. Lee stepped up his attack in an advertisement saying, "Mr. Roh supports unconditional favoritism for North Korea when South Korea's financial aid to Pyeongyang is returned as nuclear weapons."

Mr. Roh argues, "Mr. Lee is following the hard line that created a near war crisis in 1994. The presidential election day is the day when Koreans choose between war and peace." Going a step further: "Mr. Lee's thinking will drive our young sons to the battlefields."

It is the task of voters to make judgments about this tit for tat silliness. We believe voters have evaluated which North Korean policy is more suitable, whose solutions are feasible and who is more effective in drawing cooperation from the United States and Japan.
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