|North Korea has joined in the ideological mudslinging among South Korean politicians, turning an already wasteful dogfight into a farce. “If we disclose what some conservative South Korean politicians said in North Korea, most South Koreans will fall down in a fit,” said the North’s Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland.
It is not hard to see why Pyongyang has jumped into the “debate on colors” (of ideology) among political parties here: to protect pro-North politicians on the defensive by painting others in similar hues, and exert influence on South Korea’s presidential election.
In conclusion, the North’s move is both absurd and useless. The propaganda machine of the ruling Workers’ Party hinted that Rep. Park Geun-hye, during her visit to Pyongyang in 2002, delivered a eulogy and praised the then North Korean leader Kim Jong-il. Park’s remarks as introduced by Pyongyang’s mouthpiece, however, were not much more than diplomatic rhetoric to smooth over inter-Korean ties.
If Park is to be painted as pro-Pyongyang by what she said in the North, Kim Jong-il, who heaped hefty praise on his South Korean counterpart in the 2000 summit, Kim Dae-jung, must have been pro-Seoul.
Come to think of it, what would be better for inter-Korean cooperation and reconciliation than if the leaders of both Koreas think and talk favorably about each other? In this regard, the liberal opposition Democratic United Party (DUP) deserves criticism for also attacking Rep. Park, the conservatives’ strongest presidential hopeful, as pro-North Korean, based on her activities during the 2002 visit. It was nothing but the DUP’s denial of its own platform of inter-Korean rapprochement.
North Korean leaders must also know their attempted intervention in the South Korean election is a complete miscalculation, which will only backfire.
Past records show that Pyongyang’s acts designed to influence Southern politics _ either through provocation or by offering an olive branch _ have worked against its intentions at least since the mid-1990s. Military tension has scared even neutral voters away from liberal parties relatively sympathetic to the North, while an abrupt thaw, as was the case of the first summit, united conservative voters around right-wing politicians. The time has long past for Pyongyang to realize that the harder it tries to influence South Koreans, the more displeased Southerners feel about their Northern brethren.
North Korea is the subject of pity or contempt, not fear or respect.
The vicious circle of ideological attacks, counterattacks and counter-counterattacks gripping the Korean Peninsula shows that at least one thing is clear: how immature and anachronistic the politicians, of both South and North, have become in their “symbiosis amid animosity.”
And most voters here know who sparked the latest spate of ideological brawls _ two unethical, undemocratic progressive lawmakers _ and who expanded and aggravated it to a no-holds-barred war of colors _ political conservatives with President Lee Myung-bak at the forefront of the pack.
South Korean political progressives must pick out and throw away the followers of North Korea, to which the conservatives should respond with guaranteeing freedom of thought and conscience. North Korea for its part ought to realize any further attempt to “export revolution” will result in emotional estrangement of most, if not all, South Koreans.
6월 14일 (목) The Korea Times 사설