[EDITORIALS]Hope for a fresh start for RohPresident Roh Moo-hyun recently spoke frankly about his philosophy for governing the country and his perception of current events on his first anniversary in office. In a special interview with Hong Seok-hyun, the publisher of the JoongAng Ilbo, Mr. Roh said some very sound and rational things. Should he act upon his words, there is even hope that we won’t have to worry so much about the governance of our country from now on. We hope that the president’s words came from his heart and were not just a campaign strategy for the general elections.
The fact that he agreed to an interview with the JoongAng Ilbo in itself shows a great change in the president. Mr. Roh previously had dismissed the three biggest newspapers in the country as overly conservative and until now avoided any interviews. The interview also showed that there was a discrepancy between the image of the president as he saw himself and the image perceived by the people. From the public’s point of view, the president’s words and the people around him are unpredictable and cause for apprehension. The president, on the other hand, was honest enough to admit that he thought the public could try harder to understand him better in his position as the president.
Mr. Roh emphasized that he was not a populist obsessed with getting public support and that he was a believer in the market economy. “Once I went about trying to implement government policies with responsibility, I realized that there could be no progressivism or conservatism but just practicality,” Mr. Roh said, and called himself a “practicalist.” He also said that true autonomy lay in firmly maintaining our relations with the United States and approaching unification step by step. Regarding the investigation into illegal campaign funds, he said that asking businesses to come clean about their entire past practices could put a burden on the public and the national economy and he opposed punishing the firms.
We’d like to see this interview as a sign that Mr. Roh has turned from radicalism to favoring moderate and gradual reform, and that all misunderstanding has been washed away and that there will be a new start. We truly hope that the president shows this change through his actions in the future.