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Shame on the LKP (KOR)

June 03,2019
Liberty Korea Party (LKP) lawmakers are making one slip of the tongue after another. In an extended meeting Friday of the main opposition party, Rep. Jeong Yong-ki, chairman of its policy committee, said, “Despite his brutality, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un could be better than President Moon Jae-in as head of state if you exclude such barbarity, illegality and inhumanity.”

The policy committee head went on to say that Kim is better than Moon because Kim strictly follows the principle of rewarding and punishing officials, while Moon does not want to replace his unqualified diplomatic and security aides. His ludicrous remarks came after the North Korean leader reportedly executed Kim Hyok-chol, North Korea’s special representative for U.S. affairs, for his failed April 11 summit with U.S. President Donald Trump in Hanoi, Vietnam.

First, Rep. Jeong made the critical mistake of pinning his comparison on unconfirmed facts. Even if the North Korean diplomat in question was executed, how could it constitute a due punishment of a government official? We wonder whether the LKP has changed its hard-line position against Kim Jong-un and now intends to embrace him.

Rep. Min Kyung-wook, the party’s spokesperson, posted an incomprehensible comment on Facebook. He said, “When ordinary people fall into the water, the golden time needed to rescue them is only three minutes.” His comment targeted President Moon’s remark that the most important thing is the speed in rescue operations. At an emergency meeting shortly after the tragic sinking last week of a sightseeing boat carrying Korean tourists on the Danube River in Budapest, Moon gave instructions to government officials “to cooperate with the Hungarian authorities through all available diplomatic channels.”

LKP lawmakers’ thoughtless remarks continue to chip away at public support for the party. According to a Gallup Korea poll last week, public support for the opposition dropped to 22 percent, while the ruling party enjoyed 39 percent support.

Opposition parties’ primary role is checking the government. If they shy away from criticizing the ruling power, they neglect their duty. But criticism should be judicious. After crisscrossing the country to rally support for weeks, LKP Chairman Hwang Kyo-ahn compared people’s livelihoods to “hell.” His observation could be true given the hardships the public face as a result of the liberal administration’s half-baked economic policy. But what has the LKP proposed to improve things?

JoongAng Ilbo, June 3, Page 30