[EDITORIALS]Spies and democracy

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[EDITORIALS]Spies and democracy

Prosecutors have announced the results of their investigation into an espionage team called Ilsimhoe, revealing that North Korea had extended its sway to South Korea’s pro-North Korean and anti-American movement in a bid to communize the South.
From the inter-Korean summit talks in June 2000 to the deaths of two teenage girls killed by a U.S. Army vehicle and throughout the liberal-minded Roh Moo-hyun administration, South Korea has loosened the structure of the state and its alliance with the United States. In the meantime, North Korea has never stopped its work to unify the South in its way. North Korea used the Democratic Labor Party and the so-called “386 generation,” former student activists now in the government.
What is most astonishing is that North Korea found an opening in a legally established political party of this country. Parties in the past had occasionally been involved in incidents, but those cases, including the illegal entry of the former legislator Suh Kyung-won, were individual actions. North Korea in the past concentrated on underground political parties or operations. But since the far-left Democratic Labor Party made inroads into politics in the 2004 National Assembly elections, North Korea has used the party as its means of infiltration.
A strongly anti-American and pro-North Korean group was predominant in the Democratic Labor Party, which interested the North. Prosecutors said that North Korea aimed to work for policies to make anti-American moves through the party’s No. 2 leader. Plus, the North tried to found a lower-level organ in Seoul through the staff of the party’s Seoul chapter.
We vividly remember the incidents that have threatened the South Korea-U.S. alliance during this administration. Radical groups aimed to demolish the statue of General Douglas MacArthur and protested against the move of the U.S. Army to Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi province. Behind the scenes, there must have been a North Korean hand.
This new incident should cause some rethinking on the left. The Democratic Labor Party is a major political force that earned 12 percent of the votes for proportional representation in local councils in the May 31 local elections. What is it doing to preserve our democracy? The party must clear away the red spirit within its body, and some former student activists, who do not know the values of democracy, must face up to the fact that Ilsimhoe was manipulated by North Korea.

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