On TV, UPP rep gets vague on North

Home > National > Politics

print dictionary print

On TV, UPP rep gets vague on North


Huh Hyun-jun, right, a former leader of Minhyukdang, an outlawed underground political party that openly praised North Korean ideology, urges pro-North Korea faction lawmakers-elect of the Unified Progressive Party to forfeit their positions yesterday at a rally held in front of the National Assembly. By Oh Jong-taek

A representative-elect of the Unified Progressive Party, which is imploding in a battle between its two main factions, ducked a question on North Korea in a televised debate.


Lee Sang-kyu

Lee Sang-kyu, a UPP member who was elected from Gwanak B District of western Seoul in the April 11 general election, appeared on the MBC debate program “100 Minutes’ Debate” Tuesday night. Lee is a member of the party’s main faction, the so-called Gyeonggi Dongbu Alliance, which is dominated by pro-North Korea former student activists who support the Juche ideology of the North.

The two factions are battling for control of the party - both have appointed leadership councils - and battling over whether proportional representatives to the National Assembly selected in a primary should forfeit their positions. The smaller faction says the primary was rigged, an allegation which the larger faction denies.

t the end of the debate with two other politicians and a political commentator, a woman in the audience was given a chance to ask a question. She was identified as Hong Ji-yeong and said she was an office worker.

“Many people have questions on the allegations about the UPP’s largest faction’s pro-North position,” Hong said. “Tell us your exact position on North Korea’s human rights, the third-generation dynastic succession and its nuclear weapons program.”


[사진=100분 토론 캡처]

Lee dodged the question.

“It’s really a shame that a ‘color debate’ [anti-communist attack] is re-emerging and the term ‘pro-North’ lingers on, which was started during the military dictatorships when the two Koreas confronted each other,” Lee said. “It’s suffocating the freedom of thought and ideology and I think this kind of question and logic has a lot of problems.

“When I visited Pyongyang, I felt the city was gray-colored,” he continued. “As a liberal activist, I was really shocked. We need to see North Korea as it is, based on brotherhood and as a partner for unification.”

The questioner wasn’t satisfied and demanded a more specific answer. “Lee is evading the question,” she said.

Chin Jung-kwon, a political commentator who participated in the debate, also urged Lee to answer the question.

Still, Lee was vague.

“The question on these three issues gets simplified into whether it’s right to develop inter-Korean relations peacefully or worsen them,” Lee said. “The question itself is wrong.”

Lee Seok-gi, the de facto leader of the Gyeonggi Dongbu Alliance, was elected a proportional candidate in the controversial primary in March. He recently said on a TV talk show, “The problem is not pro-North ideology, but pro-U.S.”

By Kim Hee-jin [heejin@joongang.co.kr]
Log in to Twitter or Facebook account to connect
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
help-image Social comment?
lock icon

To write comments, please log in to one of the accounts.

Standards Board Policy (0/250자)