[EDITORIALS]Odd time to change horsesIt is odd that President Roh Moo-hyun is to replace National Intelligence Service director Kim Seung-gyu. It was reported that Mr. Kim expressed his intention to resign but did so after being called in by the president so it can be seen as being replaced. When the unification, foreign and defense ministers expressed their will to resign, there was no talk about replacing the director of the intelligence agency because there was no apparent reason for doing so. He has long been excluded from the foreign affairs and security team that is to be reshuffled.
The timing of the replacement is suspicious as well. A current scandal of former student activists-turned-politicians allegedly involved in espionage is the biggest incident of its kind in this administration, in terms of the number of people involved. The case might be related to politicians who now dominate the government and incumbent or former senior members of the Democratic Labor Party are involved. At a time that leaders of the intelligence agency need to thoroughly investigate the case to unveil the truth, the president is changing the head of the agency.
The day after the North conducted a nuclear test, President Roh talked about not reshuffling his foreign affairs and security team lineup, saying, “I do not change horses on the battlefield.” Why then does he change horses in the middle of this scandal?
Looking at the student activists-turned-politicians who used to believe in juche [independence] ideology and who have been arrested on charges of having contact with the North’s spies, many question whether their communist ideology has spread into the core of the government. Such suspicions arise because these politicians have strong bonds and an effective network. We question whether these leaders have influenced the Democratic Labor Party, which has argued for abolishing the national security law and have showed strong anti-American sentiments.
Another question rises whether Mr. Roh is worried that the case can influence the men in his administration who are also former student activists. We wonder if he is worried that the Democratic Labor Party will resist when its assistance is necessary in managing the administration. Is this why he intends to replace Mr. Kim? Mr. Kim is known for his principles and discipline when working on cases regarding communism, a job that has lost its gravity since the Kim Dae-jung administration. Mr. Roh should think seriously about the replacement of Mr. Kim to clear up suspicion and to allow the job of investigating to be conducted more effectively.