[EDITORIALS]Let’s get to the truthAn exchange of attacks between the ruling and opposition parties over the allegation that Uri Party Representative Lee Chul-woo joined the North Korean Workers’ Party gets fiercer by the day. The governing party insists it will make those responsible accountable for civic as well as criminal liabilities and take thorough action against a moves to taint the party’s political color. On the other hand, the Grand National Party questions Mr. Lee’s political inclination and demands clarification on why the Uri Party picked him as a candidate.
Although Mr. Lee was convicted of violating the National Security Law, we think he should not be tried again. According to judicial procedures laid out by the law, Mr. Lee was tried and served his prison term. He was later pardoned and his legal rights reinstated before being elected to the legislature.
In this sense, it was thoughtless that the opposition lawmakers claimed “Mr. Lee joined the Workers’ Party and is still active behind the scenes.” They claimed this without checking the text of court rulings. Belatedly, they admitted the expression “still active behind the scenes” was an exaggeration. They can’t avoid being accused of making irresponsible statements.
The governing party also reacted in an unjustifiable manner, making public the text of the ruling of the final appeals court on Mr. Lee, but leaving out a crucial page that said, “The North Korean Workers’ Party flag and the portraits of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong-il seized from the defendant will be confiscated,” under the excuse that it was lost. When reporters pursued it further, the party tried to justify itself by saying, “It is nothing but a one-sided allegation of the prosecutors.” It tried to hide the part that seemed disadvantageous to Mr. Lee, but only ended up amplifying suspicions.
According to the court ruling, Mr. Lee joined the “National Liberation Patriotic Front” in April 1992 and made a pledge in front of the Workers’ Party flag and the portraits of Kim Il Sung and his son. He kept the flag and the portraits in a plastic container and hid the container in a barn house. Mr. Lee insists that there was no joining ceremony. As he denies statements in the court rulings, it is difficult to verify the truth.
In order to prevent a long war of attrition, the truth should be verified soon. It is Mr. Lee’s duty to his constituents to clarify the truth as to what happened.