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Moon meets with victims of Gwangju crackdown

Feb 21,2019
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President Moon Jae-in, second from left, shakes hands with a participant in a special meeting held at the Blue House in Seoul on Wednesday for victims and family members of people killed in the 1980 Gwangju Democratization Movement. [YONHAP]
President Moon Jae-in held a special meeting Wednesday with victims of a military crackdown on a 1980 democratization movement, in an apparent move to reaffirm state recognition of the movement as pro-democracy and legitimate.

The meeting, held at the Blue House, was attended by about a dozen victims and bereaved family members of individuals killed in the bloody crackdown.

It follows a recent controversy sparked by three members of the main opposition Liberty Korea Party (LKP), who insisted the 1980 movement may have been instigated and even staged by special North Korean forces, which they say makes it a riot instead.

The president too has strongly denounced the opposition lawmakers for making such a claim, calling it an act damaging the very foundation of the nation.

“It is an act that in the end will damage our democracy and destroy the foundation of our nation,” Moon said in a weekly meeting with his aides held Monday.

The president noted that the National Assembly itself passed the related bills that designated the starting date of the 1980 movement as a national memorial day and named victims of the military crackdown as people of merit.

He also noted that the date has been observed as a national memorial day by each and every administration, including those of the conservative LKP.

The ruling Democratic Party and three minor opposition parties have submitted a motion to strip all three LKP members of their parliamentary seats.

The LKP’s own ethics committee has expelled one of them, Rep. Lee Jong-myeong, but put off decisions on the other two - Kim Jin-tae and Kim Soon-rye - citing their participation in the ongoing race for party leadership.

Yonhap