[EDITORIALS]Reaffirm our identityThe leaders of both the governing and the major opposition parties held press conferences at the same time yesterday. Park Geun-hye, chairwoman of the Grand National Party, pointed out that the national identity is shaking on its foundations now. She said, therefore, that she would launch a save-the-nation campaign so we could safeguard our national system. In response, Moon Hee-sang, chairman of the Uri Party, criticized the assertions of the opposition party as an ideological offensive of the conservatives, and pledged that his party would deter irresponsible activities that violated constitutional order and human rights.
Which side is right? One thing clear is that the opposition’s demand in connection with the controversy over Professor Kang Jeong-koo has nothing to do with ideological color. As Chairwoman Park pointed out, it is not a matter of confrontation between conservatism and progressivism and, therefore, shouldn’t be subject to one-sided criticism that the opposition is launching a political offensive. It is a natural demand and claim that the people of the Republic of Korea could make, even before an opposition party demanded the same. If the opposition didn’t make such a demand, someone else might have, or rather, should have done instead. At the moment, the majority of the people worry over the strange behavior of the current administration. They worry that the nation will collapse if it goes on like this.
We recognize that there is a necessity, as the governing party claims, that human rights should be protected through investigation without physical detention. The opposition must also recognize this and help provide a complementary measure at the National Assembly. But the essence of the issue does not lie in human rights. The problem is in the justice minister’s exercise of command over the prosecution in order to protect Professor Kang, who denied the constitutional order of the Republic of Korea. Although the governing party cites human rights as its cause, people feel that there are hidden purposes. They think political power has excessively intervened in the sphere of the judiciary.
As leader of the opposition, Ms. Park made natural demands. When the administration embraces Mr. Kang, people will assume that the government stands in the same position as Mr. Kang on what he claims. It is absurd to criticize Ms. Park saying she goes back to the era of military dictatorship under her father’s rule.
We must reconfirm the identity of the nation on this occasion.