Mr. Kim, restrain yourselfFormer President Kim Dae-jung is making extraordinary moves. After North Korea conducted a nuclear test in October, last year, he worked to revive the Sunshine Policy. Now he is explicitly interfering again in politics.
A former president can give advice on politics and policies. However, he should not let presidential hopefuls line up in front of him, try to strengthen his political influence or attempt to intervene directly in political matters.
With the convention of the Millennium Democratic Party, the former president even proposed a detailed methodology to unify the ruling circle, which was split when the Uri Party was formed. He said that if it is hard to merge the two parties, the ruling camp can at least produce one unified candidate. He believes that if the candidate succeeds in the presidential election, the ruling circle can create a party by putting the winner at center stage. That’s why rumors are swirling that Kim supports a certain candidate and that he will intervene in the coming presidential election as he pleases. To have a former president trying to influence the details of political issues is not helpful and it will only distort politics.
It is also not pleasant news that the former president visited Saemangeum, the site of a government reclamation project. Saemangeum is a typical political project, on which 2 trillion won ($2.1 billion) has been spent over the course of 15 years. It is not profitable and is also very harmful to the environment, but Kim pushed for it as a favor to the Honam area and the Jeolla provinces. Instead of reflecting on his mistaken decisions, he said that he was overwhelmed with happiness to see the site.
In autumn last year, he visited the office of the South Jeolla provincial government, creating controversy with a speech praising the supposed role of Jeolla people in bringing democracy to Korea. With that speech, it appeared that he is only interested in restoring his influence in the south while neglecting the good of the entire country.
Now his ultimate goal seems to be to make the presidential hopefuls vow to continue the Sunshine Policy.
A former president must behave like a senior leader of the country. But Kim has made his first son a lawmaker and is now pushing his second son into the arena. He is attempting to make his favorite into the presidential candidate from the ruling circle. He also is backing certain people for next year’s general elections.
This is personal greed. He must restrain himself.