[EDITORIALS]Insufficient security protectionThe Uri Party, as expected, has decided to abolish the National Security Law and revise the criminal code to replace the deleted provisions. The governing party, responsible for this nation’s security, has ignored public sentiment and decided to abolish the law. We cannot understand the reason. Now, the ruling and opposition parties will inevitably collide, and the conflict between the groups supporting and opposing the change will be amplified.
As we have said, we supported the elimination of some clauses, which have the potential for human rights infringement, and the maintenance of the framework of the security law, regardless of its name. Viewing the current situation on the peninsula, we believe it will be difficult to defend our country’s security by making a couple of amendments to the criminal code in place of the security law.
After the National Security Law is abolished as the Uri Party proposed, no one will be punished for flying a North Korean flag in the center of Seoul or for opening an Internet site to praise North Korean leader Kim Jong-il. The worst nightmare is that we will be completely disarmed to legally counter threats to our security, including espionage.
The fundamental question is how to view North Korea. The Uri Party sees North Korea as an organization with an aim of treason, but attaches the proviso that the offense should accompany violent rioting. Therefore, if an action is not violent, there would be no legal way to punish an organization that seeks to threaten this nation’s constitution. The governing party seems to pay no attention to the reality in which the two Koreas are aiming guns at each other. The party seems to believe that we are living in a peaceful, ideal society.
The proposed clauses are too ambiguous and abstract, thus it will be difficult to actually apply them. The party said amendments seeking to ban attempts to organize a group with the aim of treason will replace the security law, but the idea is simply shortsighted. The espionage issue is representative of the shortcomings. The National Security Law clearly defined the matter, but the proposed revision would allow the punishment of a spy only when there is a connection to treason.
But clauses that could define whether a person is involved in a treasonous plot, such as praising North Korea and visiting the North without authorization, would disappear. Investigative authorities will have difficulty in probing treasonous plots. Under the Uri Party plan, we will become helpless even if North Korean spies come South. South Korea will become the only country where a public security authority will have difficulty in knowing whether or not to punish espionage.
The governing party apparently cites freedom of ideology as the reason for the change, but ideology that threatens freedom cannot be allowed. That is possible only after unification, or if North Korea shows a significant change. There are various ways to reinforce the abolishment of the National Security Law. The governing party once debated drawing up a new law in place of the old one. The party should stop being obstinate and talk to the opposition party.