Indecent proposal

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Indecent proposal

What is behind the proposal put forward by Culture and Sports Minister Yu In-chon, suggesting that the anti-mad cow organization and the government have direct talks?

On CBS radio on Tuesday, Yu said, “What is most important is having talks.” The minister also said during a YTN interview on Monday, “We haven’t had direct talks until now between the government and those organizing the candlelight rallies.” He continued, “Before more people suffer, as a government spokesperson, I formally propose direct talks.”

What kind of organization is the anti-mad cow organization? Aren’t they the people behind the illegal rallies, who swing steel pipes and wooden poles in the heart of Seoul every night? Aren’t they the forces behind the anti-government rallies shouting for the resignation of the president and marching toward the Blue House?

Is it appropriate for a government spokesperson to recommend talks with such an organization?

Monday was the day after five ministers, including Yu, had announced a joint statement on violent rallies. On Sunday, the government said it would prosecute those who promote and encourage violent rallies and those who commit acts of extreme violence.

Searching the offices of the Progressive Alliance and hunting for those who orchestrated the violence are efforts to restore law and order.

But how would the people and demonstrators take the proposal made that very same day for talks between the government and rally organizers?

Doesn’t it look like the government is trying to compromise, knowing that it is on the weak side?

The organizers of the rallies have declined talks. “If the government revises its stance on U.S. beef imports and renegotiates the deal, then we can talk,” they said.

Isn’t this in itself a clear indication that they are not a group of people with whom one can have rational talks?

Yu explained on Tuesday on the radio: “I [announced the proposal] out of a desire for me at least to start talks.” But if the motivation for his proposal is that talks would be good, we should question Yu’s judgement.

On the other hand, if it was a position fine-tuned in advance among government ministries that was made public, we must question the will of the government to restore law and order.

The government should not give confusing messages.
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