[LETTERS to the editor]North’s new puppet stateSince the division of Korea in 1945 North Korea has claimed itself to be the “legitimate” Korea and South Korea and its government “puppets” of the imperialist Americans. This line of thinking holds some currency with the hyper-nationalistic, (usually) younger South Koreans and other confused segments of South Korean society who resent the perception of a master-servant relationship with the United States.
The current South Korean President, Roh Moo Hyun, vowed during his 2002 presidential election campaign not to “kowtow” to the United States. Although he hasn’t been totally successful with that pledge, he instead “kowtows” to the North Korean government. He and the ruling Uri Party use every opportunity to please their new master, Kim Jong-il.
An early example of this “kowtowing” to North Korea was the outlawing of the burning or desecration of a sovereign country’s flag. This new legislation wasn’t introduced after the countless numbers of American flags burned and shredded , but the fear the same fate may occur to a few North Korean flags at the Universade Games in Taegu. (In typical amateurish fashion for this adminstration, the law backfired because according to the South Korean constitution, North Korea isn’t a sovereign country but the United States is.)
More recently, the Unification Minister Chong Dong-young demanded that pro-North Korean websites be deregulated and Uri Party officials have been lining up to defend Kang Jeong-koo, the Dongkuk University professor who absurdly champions Kim Il-sung and the North Korea invasion of South Korea while calling General Douglas MacArthur a war criminal in the name of free speech. I too disagree with censorship , and agree with the right of free speech and so am troubled as to why this happens to affect only those with pro-North Korean leanings.
This administration’s consistant attacks on newspapers that are critical of its North Korea policy and the muzzling of “freeNK” radio make a mockery of its purported claims to protect free speech.
So it seems the South Korean government has somewhat successfully cast off the tag of “U.S. puppet.” Far more disturbing for everyone is a new one may well have been coined in its place: “North Korean puppet.”
by Brendan Brown