[EDITORIALS]A leader joins the fringe

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[EDITORIALS]A leader joins the fringe

Chang Young-dal, a Uri Party representative, said yesterday, “I regard highly the people who demand the removal of the statue of General Douglas MacArthur for their pure national sentiment and in other respects. I fully understand them.”
Mr. Chang was the chairman of the National Defense Committee and is in line to succeed the present chairman of the Uri Party. It is hard to believe that a respectable National Assemblyman of South Korea could make such remarks.
We wonder whether he made the remarks knowing who General MacArthur was and what role he played during the Korean War. If he knew, we must question why he is in the Assembly even though he denies the legitimacy of the Republic of Korea. If we extend the meaning of his words, we cannot but assume that he believes it would have been better if the whole peninsula had been communized instead of being divided after the Korean War.
Mr. Chang said, “The conservative forces that criticized our efforts to promote reconciliation and cooperation with the North and accomplish peaceful unification are moving to unite and oppose our policy using the statue issue as an excuse.” He means that the statue creates an obstacle to inter-Korean reconciliation and cooperation and peaceful unification. We wonder what makes him think so, and what kind of unification he wants. How can he speak the same way that the North does? What good is there in reconciliation that comes after we undermine our own system with our own hands?
Mr. Chang said we must leave evaluation of General MacArthur to academics. We wonder if a debate is necessary in the face of historical fact: South Korea had no other choice but to be communized if it were not for the intervention of General MacArthur and his troops. In sum, what he said was that he felt sorry because the peninsula was not unified by North Korea.
It is sad that the claims of a small group of pro-North Korean people that demand the removal of the statue are the same as the words of a leading governing party legislator. The demand for the removal of the statue is no longer an absurd claim of a motley minority group. Now a leading ruling party lawmaker has made common cause with them.
Mr. Chang must clarify whether his remarks were personal ones or if they reflect the position of the party.
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