Pyongyang is meddling again

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Pyongyang is meddling again

North Korea threatened to disclose memos and records on what former and current South Korean government officials and lawmakers have done in Pyongyang to claim that there are many pro-North Korean politicians in the South. “The current government and Saenuri Party don’t have the right to criticize pro-North politicians because there are a handful of them in the government and legislature,” said the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea, a propagandist agency in Pyongyang.

Anyone who has been to the North Korean capital would know not to take the recorded remarks seriously, however. Guests must follow guided tours to showpieces of oversized and grandiose obelisks and sanctuary sites built to honor the Kim family and the personality cult. In every corner of North Korean society stands artworks, monuments or billboards praising the country’s founding family of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong-il. And it is deplorable that the regime has kept records of every note and comment from South Korean visitors.

Lee Seok-gi and Kim Jae-yeon, representatives of the embattled Unified Progressive Party, joined the legislature amid strong doubts about their lopsided pro-North Korean views and substandard ethics.

However, regardless of their scandalous comments and actions, politicians with so-called “pro-North Korean” views should still be respected in our democratic society as it cannot restrict individual freedom in belief. A state-controlled and paranoid North Korean regime that runs the country as a huge prison camp won’t be able to imagine how that could be possible across the border.

Time after time, North Korea has attempted to mess with our elections. Our politicians also exploited the so-called “North Korean wind” to their advantage in the past. But Pyongyang has gone too far this time with its latest threat to spill the beans about our officials and lawmakers. It is customary to keep interstate negotiations confidential.

The two Koreas must continue talks for an ultimate goal of reunification. They must maintain decency in order not to undermine future relations. Park Jie-won, floor leader of the main opposition Democratic United Party, demanded that North Korea stop making comments that could jeopardize inter-Korean relations. Pyongyang should listen to the recommendation for its sake and ours.
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