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Stop the hunger strike

May 07,2018
An act of terror waged by a mad citizen against the floor leader of the main opposition party in broad daylight cannot be forgiven no matter what. The act of violence against Rep. Kim Sung-tae of the Liberty Korea Party (LKP) over political views constitutes as an obstruction of democracy and a contradiction of a parliamentary democracy, apart from the pros and cons of his hunger strike against the ruling Democratic Party (DP).

Kim kicked off a hunger strike after the ruling party refused to accept the opposition’s demand for a special investigation of the so-called Druking scandal involving a ruling party lawmaker in an online public opinion manipulation campaign. We urge law enforcement authorities to thoroughly probe into the malicious attack inside the National Assembly, as the episode can be used for political purposes regardless of what the attacker’s intentions were.

At the same time, our political circles must reflect on whether they are responsible for the use of violence. Floor leader Kim started his strike to call for the DP to accommodate the opposition’s demand for an investigation of the Druking scandal by an independent counsel. But Kim’s hunger strike lost its grounds to the extent that it can hardly get support from other opposition parties, not to mention the LKP. A hunger strike is not something you can wage without a life-and-death cause. We question if he really needs to risk his own life no matter how important the truth is.

Politics is basically about cause. A protest without proper justification can only produce unwanted side effects of turning into a farce. Opponents are even making online petitions on the Blue House website calling for a live camera to monitor if he is actually waging the strike faithfully. Others are mocking his strike by sending pizza to him. Kim must stop his strike and the opposition party also must withdraw its earlier decision to join it.

The ruling Democratic Party is also accountable for the terror attack at the National Assembly and the idling of the legislature. While Rep. Kim Kyoung-soo expressed willingness to accept a special investigation, the leadership of the ruling party is steadfastly rejecting it. In the meantime, a series of pending bills — such as an act to reduce fine dust — are only idling in the legislature even after it opened an extraordinary session a week ago.

The ruling party must first make concession and normalize the operation of the National Assembly. The legislature must deal with urgent bills. That’s a way to prevent another terrorist act in the future.

JoongAng Ilbo, May 7, Page 26