[EDITORIALS]An inappropriate remarkIn a meeting with reporters, Justice Minister Kang Gum-sil expressed skepticism about the possibility of taking legal action against Professor Song Du-yul even if he were confirmed to be Kim Chul-su, a member of the North Korean Workers Party’s Politburo. The Justice Ministry later explained the minister’s comment, saying that she was expressing concern that the government would not be able to prosecute him because of the current inter-Korean situation where senior officials of the two Koreas are frequently visiting each other’s side.
But Ms. Kang’s remark is irrelevant because she not only heads the ministry that implements the nation’s laws, but also oversees the prosecution’s investigations. The National Intelligence Service is currently investigating Mr. Song on whether he is indeed Kim Chul-su, and if he persuaded South Koreans studying in Germany to defect to North Korea. When the investigation winds up, if the allegations prove to be true, the case will be handed over to the prosecution, which will decide whether to indict or not. Thus, we question the intention behind Ms. Kang’s comment on a case under investigation. How are we to interpret her remark other than as an attempt to gauge public sentiment toward Mr. Song?
Mr. Song denies that he is Kim Chul-su, and the prosecution investigation is still in progress. And, true to the minister’s words, South and North Korean officials frequently exchange visits. But it is illogical for the minister to draw a parallel between inter-Korean exchanges and pro-North Korean activities that intended to subvert our system.
Efforts at reconciliation with North Korea should be differentiated from turning a blind eye to spies or other subversive agents. Arguing for their freedom amounts to forsaking our system. It is for the same reasons that the German government called into account anti-state elements after its reunification with East Germany. The justice minister has a responsibility to ferret out and prosecute those who threaten our society. Our Maginot Line is to uphold our system of free democracy.