Time to compete for futureWith the anniversary of President Park Geun-hye’s election victory coming up on Thursday, the Korean Peninsula is covered in a dense fog of uncertainty from the instability of the North Korean regime. The slow economic recovery is also exacerbating people’s daily lives. Korea is squeezed in between China’s hegemonic expansion and Japan’s militaristic drive. Despite such a grim reality at home and abroad, Korea is still mired in an exhausting battle over the results of last December’s presidential race, without any signs of a breakthrough. It all comes down to the inability of the victors and losers to undertake their proper roles.
Regardless of the meaningful gap in the voting outcome - 51.6 percent to 48 percent - both the ruling Saenuri Party and opposition Democratic Party are still fighting over government agencies’ alleged intervention in the election. Of course, the opposition is also accountable for alleged meddling in the race by some liberal and leftist unions. But those accusations are different from the outlawed intervention by the National Intelligence Service and military, which evokes a painful chapter from our modern history.
President Park must understand why a considerable portion of the 48 percent of those who did not vote for her can hardly accept the results of the election and want to make sure that such outdated state interventions are not repeated. Now, the president must focus on reinforcing the spy agency’s primary role of collecting information on the recalcitrant regime in Pyongyang.
The victor should be more proactive in communicating with the loser. Despite an explicit demonstration of antipathy toward then-ruling party candidate Park and its involvement an alleged plot to subvert the state, the splinter opposition Unified Progressive Party still is an official party with several lawmakers. But the president’s approval of a motion to dismantle the leftist party on her overseas trip makes us doubt her ability to embrace the other.
DP lawmaker and former presidential candidate, Moon Jae-in, yesterday all but declared he would run for president again - barely a year after his defeat. All the turmoil boils down to Moon’s reluctance to accept Park’s victory. He must make clear his position on his defeat to avoid further chaos. Despite its defeat, the DP still has a major stake in national governance. The opposition should enter a race for the future, not a battle over the past, and leave the past to a court’s judgment.