Disgusting, traitorous wordsLeftist pastor Han Sang-ryeol’s unauthorized trip to North Korea and the behavior he exhibited there is a chilling wake-up call on the number and enthusiasm of supporters of the North Korean regime in our society.
The religious activist, who is also an executive member of the Korean Alliance for Progressive Movement, publicly lauded North Korea’s hereditary autocracy, praising the leaders as peace-loving people even as the country refuses to admit to torpedoing the South Korean corvette Cheonan and killing its 46 sailors.
On his return after 70 days in North Korea, Han was greeted by hundreds of progressive activists at the truce village at Panmunjom. What has our country come to?
The reverend’s comments during his stay in North Korea has been truly appalling. Some of them were even worse than the statements from North Korea’s propaganda mouthpiece.
“Our land and people in the North are armed with weaponry far more powerful than nuclear weapons - solid unity, self-containment, and revolutionary optimism fuelled by the Juche ideology,” Han said.
Cozying up to North Korean leader Kim Jong-il, he said, “I genuinely respect, love and desire to obey you.” He also attacked the findings of a multinational investigation on the sinking of the Cheonan, calling it the “pinnacle of Lee Myung-bak’s pack of lies.” He blamed President Lee for sending the sailors to their deaths.
Han was arrested by intelligence authorities on his return to the southern side. The charges over his unauthorized visit and anti-government remarks should be thoroughly investigated.
The co-chairman of the activist group Han serves as an adviser to was also recently arrested under suspicion of acting on orders from North Korean spies to stage rallies to demand the withdrawal of U.S. forces in Korea and the removal of the statue of General Douglas MacArthur in Incheon. Whether Han acted alone or on higher orders should also be investigated.
What’s more disheartening is that there are people who applaud Han’s stunt. Some 150 members of a local branch of the progressive Democratic Labor Party held a ceremony to welcome the pastor back home. Some civilian activist groups based in North Jeolla Province also protested against his arrest. These groups should declare what side they’re on. What part of Han’s actions do they approve of? Are they followers of the North Korean regime, too?
Our Constitution guarantees freedom of faith and ideology. But we can’t tolerate the support and actions made on behalf of a rogue regime armed with nuclear weapons, and whose official policy is to conquer South Korea through military force.