[EDITORIALS]Stop the war of wordsWith the recent series of rallies protesting the relocation of the capital, the debate has reached a new dimension. The point of contention has now become whether Seoul’s mayor, Lee Myung-bak, and another senior official of the Seoul Metropolitan Government committed perjury during their testimony before the National Assembly.
As an entity that represents the citizens of Seoul, the city council is bound to object to the relocation of the capital. And it is reasonable that the Seoul Metropolitan Government supports the city council in staging demonstrations. It would be an over-reaction to make too much of a fuss about a document in which the city government requested the district offices to cooperate in the rallies, passing along a request of the municipal council. The Gyeonggi provincial government did the same and the province’s governor admitted it, so the uproar was not as great.
The denials are a different matter altogether. When confronted with a document sent to district offices in his name on Oct. 6, the city’s administrative bureau head denied that she had ever seen the document. Mayor Lee went on to say, “Even if only to determine whether the paper was forged or not, we want the Assembly to ask for a thorough investigation.”
Three days later, the city retracted those denials, claiming that they were sent by a mid-ranking official without the knowledge of the two principals. That is hardly convincing.
At the time, the city government was busy preparing for the National Assembly Inspection. Just two days earlier, on Oct. 4, a large demonstration by conservative groups was held in front of City Hall, protesting the relocation of the capital and the abolition of the security law. If the city government did not find out the basic facts, then it shows the height of incompetence and irresponsibility. There were five documents presented during the Assembly Inspection. If the two officials knew about these documents but denied knowing, it is a serious perjury.
This issue must not become a fight between the governing and opposition parties. The mayor must reveal the truth so that there will no longer be any political warfare. The debate over the relocation must not continue this way. The political parties must immediately stop this war of words, which only wastes valuable time in Assembly Inspections. The parties must seek alternative solutions after taking public opinion on the relocation into account.