Liberal groups denounce the RO

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Liberal groups denounce the RO

Astounded by an alleged insurrection planned by the Revolutionary Organization, liberal groups in the country are vocal in their criticism of the pro-Pyongyang group suspected of plotting to overthrow the government.

The unified move by these groups to condemn the RO, a pro-Pyongyang faction of the Unified Progressive Party, is seen as the liberal base’s attempt to avoid being tarred with the same brush as ideological friends of Pyongyang’s party line.

The Citizens’ Coalition for Economic Justice, a liberal-leaning civic group, issued a statement Wednesday condemning the group allegedly headed by Lee Seok-ki, a proportional representative of the leftist UPP in the Assembly. Lee was stripped of his parliamentary immunity yesterday; the coalition called the RO’s ideology “anachronistic,” saying it “goes far beyond people’s common sense.”

“What’s in the transcript of the dialogue [from a May 12 meeting of the RO] reveals how absurd Representative Lee and other UPP members are in their logic,” the civic group said.

The group also called on the UPP to take responsible measures as a party by expelling Lee and issuing an official apology. The civic group warned, “The party’s presence will not be guaranteed in the future” without those steps.

Park Geun-yong, the administrative director at the People’s Solidarity for Participatory Democracy, a progressive non-governmental group, said his organization “does not agree with the UPP’s claim” that the National Intelligence Service investigation into a rebellion plot is undemocratic suppression by the government.

“The truth about an insurrection conspiracy must be found,” said Park, “The allegations surrounding Lee Seok-ki, if true, cannot be justified based on the principles of our Constitution.”

But Park also emphasized the need for reform of the NIS, the agency targeting the RO. He said the NIS should be investigated itself as a separate issue apart from the case against the RO. The intelligence agency has been accused of interfering in last year’s presidential election.

A group of 82 prominent liberal elders from South Korea’s civil society also met on Wednesday at the Press Center in central Seoul and issued a statement condemning the RO.

The statement said the necessity to investigate an insurrection plot was “in many ways shocking,” adding that if the allegations are correct, those implicated in the matter have “gone off-track from socially accepted principles.”

“Politicians and political entities have a responsibility to lay bare the truth before the people, especially those who support liberal and constitutional politics,” the group’s statement said.

A popular novelist, Hwang Suk-young; professor Paik Nak-chung of Seoul National University; and Father Ham Sei-ung, a Catholic priest, are among those in the 82-member group.

The elders group also urged the government not to use the investigation into the alleged conspiracy as an excuse to end efforts to reform the NIS.


BY KANG JIN-KYU, LEE YU-JEONG [jkkang2@joongang.co.kr]

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