[EDITORIALS]Commission goes too farFollowing its controversial decision last week to designate North Korean spies who died while resisting Seoul’s pressure to convert them as victims of the democratization movement, the Presidential Truth Commission on Suspicious Deaths is now said to be considering recommending that the government repatriate, among dozens of former North Koreans prisoner who have lived here after conversion, those who desire to return to the North.
We wonder for whom the presidential commission exists. No one in the administration attempts to control the commission when it is damaging the fundamental identity of the nation, only squandering taxes.
The commission started in October 2000 to find out the truth concerning those who died through the abuse of public power while engaged in democratization movements. Such a commission labeled North Korean spies as democratization activists and now it meddles in the issue of repatriating former North Korean spies. We believe the commission went far beyond its powers.
Of course, the former North Korean spies here may be considered victims of the partition of the Korean Peninsula. From a humanitarian perspective, it may be desirable to send them back to the North if they want this. Still, that action must be based on reciprocity. In North Korea, 486 South Korean abductees and 500 former soldiers are said to still be alive. How can the government neglect this issue, only caring about the repatriation of North Koreans here?
We welcome the announcement by a national commission to compensate democratization activists which said, “We cannot acknowledge the North Korean spies who denied South Korea’s constitutional order and threatened its security as those who were involved in a democratization movement just because they argued for the abolition of the country’s anti-democratic law.”
We ask the commission not to confuse the nation’s identities. If it keeps causing confusion, it will be necessary to discuss closing it down.
Social conflicts are growing because of the commission’s move, as shown by the former generals’ protest yesterday. President Roh Moo-hyun should not remain silent. He himself should make an effort to eliminate the confusion caused by the commission.