Liberals or fanatics?Former and incumbent chairmen of a pro-North Korea civic group was recently arrested on charges of activities friendly to the North after receiving directives from Pyongyang. A co-chairman and 12 other supervisors of the Committee for Confederated Unification of Korean People were also being investigated on the same charge. According to a press release by the police, their charges go far beyond being friendly to the North as their alleged activities amount to an “attempt to subvert the Korean government.”
Since establishing a “Joint Action Committee to Expel Yankees” in 2005, the group had been staging violent campaigns to remove the statue of General Douglas MacArthur in Incheon, while taking the lead in organizing countless rallies to drive U.S. Forces out of South Korea. In China, they had agreed with another anti-state civic group to fight for the withdrawal of U.S. troops, and in Japan they consented to provide financial assistance to other anti-state organizations, including Jochongnyeon, the pro-Pyongyang Federation of Korean Residents in Japan.
The group is an offshoot of the South Korean headquarters of the Korean Federation of Unification, which was declared as an anti-state group in a sentence by the Supreme Court. It aims to achieve a confederated unification of the Korean Peninsula, which North Korea has been arguing for. The group says that our primary enemy is the army of “Yankee U.S. imperialism,” arguing the statue of General MacArthur is a symbol of “aggression and an occupying force.” That explains why the group has been so devoted to the removal of his statue.
Yet, they argue South Korea is a colony of the U.S. and the current administration of South Korea is a puppet regime, while praising North Korean leader Kim Jong-il as the “sun of Korean people.” They even contend that the South Korean warship Cheonan was sunken by “a mistaken bombing by U.S. forces,” or that the Cheonan tragedy was a “fabrication,” which sounds quite similar to a comment by Han Sang-ryeol, standing advisor to the Korea Alliance of Progressive Movements, a liberal civic group.
Strictly speaking, these people are not liberals, nor pro-North citizens: They are fanatics with religious faith in Kim Jong-il as their sect leader. They are puppets for the North Korean regime, working under the guise of liberalism in the wake of rapprochement with the North under the previous administration. We now face a tricky challenge to distinguish good-willed liberals from wicked ones. It would be better if people like them could be deported to the North Korea they like so much, rather than sending them to prison at the cost of taxpayers’ money.
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