[EDITORIALS]GNP has lost its identityIt is disgusting to see that, out of blue, the Grand National Party is suddenly promoting the Sunshine Policy. Party Chairman Kang Jae-sup visited the South Jeolla area on Tuesday and said the current Roh administration may think it has done a great job on inter-Korean relations, but its own engagement policy has actually given a bad name to President Kim Dae-jung’s Sunshine Policy. Mr. Kang was essentially saying the Sunshine Policy was right, and Mr. Roh’s engagement policy was wrong.
Kim Hyong-o, the party’s floor leader, later explained that Mr. Kang meant to stress that Mr. Roh’s policy was worse compared to his predecessor’s.
But as explanations go, it was clumsy. Mr. Kang is far from the only one who wants to distinguish the Sunshine Policy and the current engagement schemes.
Also on Tuesday, Kim Seong-jo, another Grand National member, said that while the Sunshine Policy was a blend of open arms and hard-line measures, Mr. Roh’s policy is the indiscriminate support of North Korea without principles.
Lee Byung-suk, vice floor leader, criticized the Uri Party for attempting to score a few extra votes by jumping on the bandwagon of the Sunshine Policy as it is gaining more historical significance.
The reason the parties are suddenly being subservient to Kim Dae-jung and his signature policy is obvious. They all want to gather votes in the Jeolla provinces ahead of elections, and feel that Mr. Kim, who is from South Jeolla, still exerts influence on the minds of the people in the region.
We would understand if the Uri Party, which essentially inherited the Sunshine Policy, supports it. But we feel the Grand National Party has lost its identity. This is not to say giving positive reviews of the policy is wrong. But think of how the Grand Nationals once evaluated the policy: During Mr. Kim’s presidency, the party called the policy a blatant waste of money. With some strong public criticism, the Grand National Party conveniently changed its stance. Such confusion is due to the party’s lack of a firm philosophy on North Korean issues.
Regardless of their explanations, the party members’ recent comments only justify the Sunshine Policy and make themselves look worse. The party cannot gain people’s trust if it is unable to hold on to its convictions. If the Grand National Party becomes the ruling party, such a shallow trick will not get it anywhere. Grand Nationals continue to disappoint.
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
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