&#91EDITORIALS&#93Tell us the truth, Mr. Roh

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[EDITORIALS]Tell us the truth, Mr. Roh

President Roh Moo-hyun will hold a news conference today to explain two allegations implicating his associates. The opposition Grand National Party charges that in 1997, President Roh pressed a financial firm that lent money to his spring water company to extend the repayment grace period from six months to one-and-a-half years.
The opposition party also alleges that the president’s brother bought land in his hometown in South Gyeongsang province using the president’s campaign funds.
The 100th day of a new administration should be a time when the new president’s vision for administering the nation has been developed, and the people should be full of hope. The reality today cannot be more different. North Korea’s nuclear weapons pose an enormous threat and the economy is becoming shakier by the day. Trailer truck drivers, radical college students and school teachers are all resorting to massive collective actions.
The reform-mindedness and ethics that the Roh administration touted as its strong points are looking shaky. How can one properly administer the nation under such circumstances? If the president’s brother is suspected of real estate speculation, would the public not jeer at government measures to curb housing price increases? If the administration says “everyone was doing it then,” how can it possibly advocate political reform and economic justice?
The president must explain the entire story, apologize if need be and provide a convincing explanation to the people. Mr. Roh should avoid listing excuses or accusing the opposition party and the media if only to prevent new controversies from springing up. If the president’s explanation fails to convince the public, worse confusion and a political war of words will soon follow.
Mr. Roh should remember that if the people do not believe that he is honest, that lack of credibility will pose an obstacle to everything he attempts to do in the future. The president should clear up the allegations completely and focus on administering the nation and bringing the people together.
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