[FOUNTAIN]The political word game

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[FOUNTAIN]The political word game

On Nov. 23, 1993 in the Oval Office at the White House, President Kim Young-sam met with U.S. President Bill Clinton for an hour and a half, drawing out the meeting 35 minutes longer than scheduled. Earlier, in March, Pyongyang announced that it was withdrawing from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Minister of Foreign Affairs Han Seung-joo and U.S. Secretary of State Warren Christopher agreed to negotiate on North Korean issues, such as the abandonment of the nuclear program and the improvement in the relationship between North Korea and the Untied States, as a package deal. President Kim Young-sam had consented to make the agreement public at the summit meeting. However, one of Mr. Kim’s acquaintances did not like the idea, claiming that it would only make Kim Dae-jung popular. Kim Dae-jung, who had been retired from politics at the time, had been advocating a “package deal” since August. Yet President Kim could not openly admit that he did not like the expression Kim Dae-jung had been using, so he was dragging on the meeting. Finally, Seoul and Washington announced a “through and broad approach” on the North Korean issue, a different way of saying “package deal.”
A new term or phrase is created to define a concept that an existing word cannot express. However, in politics, a new term is a trick to hide the essence, a way of diluting an argument. Every political party wants to use and monopolize fancy words. While all advocate “democracy,” “reform” and “justice,” each has a different interpretation.
The current administration is doing an excellent job when it comes to inventing and defining new terms. All voters call the ruling party “Uri Party,” or “our party,” and “participate” in political affairs. The administration monopolizes “reform,” and when you have a different “code,” you are categorized as an anti-reformist force.
Deputy Prime Minister Kwon O-kyu has been reiterating the Blue House claim that there will be no artificial economic boost. Mr. Kwon came up with some new terms, such as “rebalancing” and “fine-tuning,” which cannot be found in economics textbooks.
After the summit meeting between President Roh Moo-hyun and U.S. President George W. Bush, the Blue House presented a “common and broad approach,” an expression largely similar to President Kim Young-sam’s approach except for one word.
The newly coined phrase is a empty shell that needs to be filled up from now on. A vague and confusing term is nothing but trickery, a word play to deceive someone.


by Kim Jin-kook

The writer is an editorial writer of the JoongAng Ilbo.
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