[EDITORIALS]Government should hear criticsPrime Minister Lee Hae-chan criticized those who opposed the abolition of the National Security Law at a cabinet meeting, saying, “There are people who openly claim that the present government is a pro-North Korean and anti-American regime. As a free democracy is established here, they try to act as if the current government is a pro-North Korean force. They shouldn’t do so.” He directed the cabinet “to take stern action against such slander.”
We wonder whether Mr. Lee even bothers to listen to public opinion. Academic, business and even religious communities express concern over what they consider “leftist” government policies, ones that call for the abolition of the National Security Law, a revision of the private school law, publicly announcing apartment sales prices, a new newspaper law and expanded redistribution of wealth, regardless of low economic growth.
The responsibility of the “pro-North Korea” controversy lies with the government and the ruling party. The Uri Party lawmakers not only stay silent on human rights violations in North Korea, but they led the opposition to the U.S. House of Representatives’s resolution on North Korean human rights.
Although the Northern military employs various tactics to invalidate our maritime border, our military is at a loss, fearing a reprimand from the Blue House. We are in a situation where former spies and partisans are made democracy activists by the government.
Our relations with Washington are at their lowest. A large number of U.S. forces are leaving Korea and President George W. Bush didn’t mention South Korea in expressing appreciation for sending troops to Iraq. Under such circumstances, it is rather strange that people do not show concern over national security and the future of the nation.
What did the government do when people opposed the abolition of the security law? It accused them of being “undermining forces.” That the prime minister ordered strict action means that the government wants to muzzle the opposition. It is regrettable that the government is trying to suppress the opinions of those who want to keep the law.
Under whatever circumstances, the government can be persuasive when it maintains balance and fairness. The government must realize that the first thing it should do is thoroughly reflect on its failures in state affairs.