Avoid the extremes

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Avoid the extremes

Pro-Pyongyang activities have become brazen amid renewed engagement. A group calling itself the “Baekdu-honoring Committee” has been formed by 13 organizations, including the Korean Progressive Student Alliance.

It is campaigning to invite and stage a warm welcome for North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. In an inaugural declaration, the group said the people of the South have been “touched by the genuineness of Kim” as he offered assurances that he would do anything for sovereign unification.

The members held a rally in Gwanghwamun Plaza in downtown Seoul and openly cheered for Kim. They hung banners in the streets of the capital recruiting a welcoming crowd for Kim for when he visits the South.

Kim holds the key to denuclearization and peace talks. He should be respected for his efforts to achieve denuclearization and peace and for the progress made. But he is also a dictator who has threatened the world with nuclear armed missiles. He oppresses his people and denies them their freedoms. He is not someone who should be praised in public spaces in South Korea. An extreme leftist or pro-North Korea movement could divide society and unsettle the government’s détente policy.

Meanwhile, a group of extreme rightists rallied in front of the house of Liberty Korea Party floor leader Kim Sung-tae protesting his opposition to Ji Man-won’s membership in the truth-finding committee on the May 18 Gwangju Democracy Movement.

The court ruled in favor of the plaintiffs rebuking Ji’s argument that the Gwangju Massacre was triggered and orchestrated by North Korean troops that had penetrated into the South. Going extreme right or left can harm social unity and democracy. Disregard for common sense and blind self-righteousness can sicken our society.

JoongAng Ilbo, Nov. 16, Page 30
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