[EDITORIALS]GNP’s strange about-faceThe Grand National Party has decided to amend the bill for a second independent counsel for the cash-for-summit scandal, although it had already passed the Legislation and Judiciary Committee. The party will be accused of giving up the gains it secured from the original bill. The testimony by the National Intelligence Service director, Ko Young-koo, that since 1998 North Korea has carried out more than 70 explosive detonations as part of its nuclear weapons program was shocking. But it is by nature an issue that should be handled at a parliamentary hearing, not added to the counsel’s brief. We find it hard to understand what the opposition is up to in switching to a hard line.
The independent counsel bill passed the judiciary committee in the absence of ruling-party members, but the Millennium Demo-crats were going to participate in the debate at the plenary session. It is unreasonable that the opposition party, which proposed the bill, now spurns it. Whether the Kim Dae-jung administration’s engagement policy toward North Korea was legitimate is a matter of policy options, not a matter to be investigated.
The opposition wants an investigation of whether the money given to the North was used for nuclear weapons development. To prove that, North Korean officials should be investigated. But there is no way, in practice, for South Korean law-enforcement authorities to do that. More effective would be to exercise the Assembly’s right to investigate our own government. It can probe whether the Kim administration pushed its engagement policy even though it knew of North Korea’s nuclear development, and why it has been concealing the truth. This must be handled separately from Hyundai’s 15 billion won transfer to Park Jie-won. Combining two different issues gives the president and the ruling party an excuse to reject the bill.
Watching internal discord over the bill and the cancellation of an agreement with the ruling party due to opposition from hard-liners, we wonder whether there is a problem in the Grand New Party’s new leadership. It should ponder the demands of the people, and tune its policy accordingly.