[OUTLOOK]Living in an age of betrayalWe are living in an era of betrayal. We are deceiving each another and stabbing each other’s backs. The so-called “People’s Government” and the Democratic Party have been stabbed in the back by the “Participatory Government” and the Uri Party three times with the knife of political betrayal.
The first blow came with the special prosecutor’s investigation into secret payments to North Korea. The second was the separation from the Democratic Party and the founding of the Uri Party. The third betrayal is the unprecedented event of issuing detention warrants for two former heads of the National Intelligence Service from the Kim Dae-jung Administration in one day, over the illegal eavesdropping case.
Only ten days ago, former president Kim Dae-jung was visited by the Uri Party executives and called them his “political successors.” Now with two former intelligence chiefs in jail, Mr. Kim stated that what the Roh Administration was stating was untrue.
Furthermore, Mr. Kim implied his sense of betrayal by saying, “As you live life, you get to experience all kinds of ridiculous things. That’s how my life has been.”
However, Mr. Kim’s sense of betrayal is nothing compared to the utter bewilderment and emptiness ordinary citizens are feeling. After all, Korean politics has always been a vicious cycle of betrayals. What citizens are feeling, however, is beyond a feeling of political betrayal as we learn that Mr. Kim, who always said he had been the biggest victim of illegal eavesdropping, actually oversaw eavesdropping on more than 1,800 people when he was in office.
At this juncture, it is hardly appropriate that Mr. Kim and the Democratic Party gather around and protest that the Roh Administration is trying to politically ostracize Mr. Kim. In particular, the Democratic Party and Mr. Kim should not attempt to gain popular support by giving the impression they are being politically persecuted.
Regarding the issue of illegal eavesdropping, Mr. Kim should have sincerely apologized for his lack of virtue instead of simply calling it one of the many ridiculous things in his life. On the contrary, Mr. Kim argued that what the Roh Administration was stating was untrue.
Does he mean that the prosecutors made up something that did not happen? I hope he didn’t do things that he has to later make the lame excuse that his men might have done it but he did not know of it.
Moreover, the Uri Party suddenly studies the public sentiment of the Honam region out of concern that Mr. Kim’s unpleasant mood could make the political climate unstable. But this is no time for the ruling party to question the fairness of the detention warrants. Such questioning is as unsuitable and inappropriate as a cat caring for a mouse. Instead of saying that the statute of limitations has expired, the Grand National Party should have sincerely repented of illegal eavesdropping by the Mirim Team under the National Security Planning Agency during the Kim Young-sam Administration. And moreover, the National Assembly should have resolved unanimously to eradicate illegal eavesdropping, instead of calculating how to win more votes. In addition, the Blue House should have expressed its determination to prioritize the investigation over the unceasing suspicions about illegal wiretapping as part of its efforts to correct wrongdoings of the past.
Illegal eavesdropping is clearly wrong and truly evil. It should never be tolerated. Politicians should never dilute the case with political rhetoric or exploit it by encouraging and riding on regional sentiment.
If the intelligence agency tapped more than 1,800 people, all the influential figures in the Republic of Korea were overheard. If all the people that had telephone conversations with the targets of the wiretapping are included, essentially no one in this country was free from illegal eavesdropping. Even Park Ji-won, the protege of Mr. Kim, was not an exception. With the exception of the incumbent chief executive, everyone was a target of eavesdropping. While a Nobel Peace Prize winner was president, his intelligence agency committed such a crime.
Why on earth do the citizens of the Republic of Korea have to hopelessly live with this constant betrayal?
* The writer is an editorial writer of the JoongAng Ilbo.
by Chung Jin-hong