Keep your composure, please

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Keep your composure, please

President Park Geun-hye had an indirect conversation yesterday with Kim Han-gill, chairman of the main opposition Democratic Party, over whether to launch a legislative investigation into the National Intelligence Service’s intervention in the December presidential election. However, both leaders have only fueled the conflict between the ruling and opposition camps.

The president said, “I do not know why such an incident occurred and why the authorities did such a thing,” adding that she didn’t receive any help from the intelligence agency during the campaign. She went on to say, “If the NIS had really been involved in the last election, it must clear all suspicions.” Park made the remarks in response to the opposition party leader’s letter in which he wrote, “I don’t think the president was aware of the NIS’s involvement in the election. But her description of the case as a ‘human rights issue of a female NIS agent’ suggests that she probably received a false report from her aides during the campaign. I hope the president explains the fiasco and apologizes for it.”

The fact that Park has broken her silence on the issue can be interpreted as acceptance of the opposition party’s persistent demands for a legislative probe. Though Park used ambiguous language when responding to Kim’s letter, the prosecution is convinced that the NIS and the police illegally meddled in the election. The prosecution already indicted Kim Yong-pan, then head of the Seoul Metropolitan Police, on charges of manipulating investigation results. President Park can hardly act as if she were an outside observer. Isn’t the ruling Saenuri Party’s refusal to comply with a legislative probe - despite its consent to the probe in March - aimed at protecting the president?

The Democratic Party is also acting improperly. The leadership decided to embark on a nationwide signature-collecting campaign along with rallies inside and outside the National Assembly. Ten female representatives of the party held a demonstration yesterday at the Assembly with a plan to gather signatures from citizens at Yeouido Station from today.

That seems like a lack of respect for an election result, though they say otherwise. At a candlelight rally with signboards that read, “Park Geun-hye Out!” a DP lawmaker said, “Now that the NIS turned out to have been mobilized to thwart Moon Jae-in’s victory, Park is not the president anymore.” It is time for both sides to refrain from unnecessary provocations. That’s the only way for the people and the country to move forward.
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