President Moon Jae-in should have stopped relying too heavily on the so-called Undonggwon political forces in Korea when he still had time to do so. This is the opinion prevailing among the people in Korea, especially the conservative-oriented people, who gave him an aye vote at the time of the last Presidential elections on May 9, 2017. Undonggwon means politically oriented people, especially young people, who are generally classified to stand on the left of the center line between the conservatives (right) and progressives.
|From left: President Hong Jun-pyo of the main opposition Liberty Korea Party, Chairman Ahn Cheol-soo of the second opposition Democratic Party and President Yoo Seong-Min of splinter opposition Barun Party. United they stand strong vis-a-vis ruling Minjoo Party of President Moon Jae-in.|
During the last Presidential elections in May, President Moon won a landslide victory mainly thanks to the overwhelming influence of the broad masses of people joining the candle light vigils. It is true that a considerable portion of these demonstrators belonged in the so-called Undonggwon, but the majority of the people hitting the street at the time were not so much in favor of the progressivist forces in Korea as in wishing to put an end to the overly erring government of the now-discredited former President Park Geun-hye and her followers, the allegedly greedy Madam Choi Soon-sil who is now facing a court conviction in response to a 25-year prison term demanded by the Prosecution.
It appears that President Moon does not accurately determine who really were behind the anti-Park demonstrations at that time.
The opponents against Park were almost all the people with the exception of those who ‘blindly’ supported Park and her government, either for reasons of their personal benefits and gains or just out of blind loyalty to Park.
And these opponents against Park consisted substantially of all strata of people, including the genuine right-wing political leaders such as President Yoo Seong-Min
of the splinter conservative Bareun (Righteous) Party and National Assemblyman Kim Moo-sung of the main opposition conservative Liberty Korea Party.
With the passage of time, however, the people seem to have begun awakening from the state of lopsided support for Moon and coming back to their original status, conservativeness.
On this situation, an interesting column appeared in the popular Korean-language daily newspaper, Joongang Ilbo, written by regular Columnist Jeon Young-ki, which was published on Dec. 25, 2017. It was entitled, “Stop Moon’s uncontrolled dash! A third party with 50 seats is coming with Ahn Chul-soo and Yoo Seong-Min!” Gist of the editorial follows:
The Korean political arena, which has been flying with only one wing on the left, is now having a wing also on the right hand side.
Last week, President Hong Jun-pyo of the Liberty Korea Party won a sentence of not guilty from the Supreme Court, and has now become freer than before.
The People’s Party of Ahn Cheol-soo will soon have a show-down national convention to seek a verdict on his plan to merge with the Barun Party of Yoo Seong-Min. There is a strong possibility that Ahn will win a landslide victory.
Now that Hong has won a great momentum for revitalized activities, if Ahn wins the national convention, the opposition camp of Korea will have a firm backbone of organization and vitality. If Yoo of the Barun Party makes a broad-minded step forward to warm them, the political arena in Korea will face a diastrophic change in the New Year.
Obstructing the merger between Ahn and Yoo is the ‘3 men of the Honam Region,’ namely Reps. Park Chi-won, Chun Jung-bae and Chung Dong-young. Ahn says, “When the majority of people want merger between the Democratic Party and the Barun Party, I trust that the three men will the party voluntarily.” In contrast with this view, however, Yoo of the Barun Party says, “Come to us after you have shaken the three men away.”
I would say that it is only appropriate that on this matter Mr. Yoo should concede.
If Ahn and Yoo join hands with each other, those people who try to prolong their political life with the support of the Honam Provinces will leave the party?or being driven out of it.
It is important for the leaders and members of the Democratic Party and the Barun Party to repose trust in Yoo, and give up everything for the cause of ‘open politics.’ If a new third party is born with a total of 50 incumbent National Assemblymen, which one might wish to call “Righteous People’s Party,” no one would wish to leave the new party.
The new ‘Righteous People’s Party’ will want to declare the ‘Sunshine Policy’ of the late former President Kim Dae-Jung ‘dead’ following the declaration of Chairman Kim Jung Un, “We have now completed our nuclear armament!” The new party would continue to keep its base in the two Jeolla provinces, but must adopt a new policy line that will not remain in the Jeolla provinces but broaden its range to all other provinces of the country. This successfully done, the Jeolla provincial leaders would no longer try to challenge the hegemony of the party.
There are many examples where third political parties made brilliant accomplishments.
The good examples are the United Democratic Party of the late former President Kim Young-sam at the time of the general elections in 1988. Then there is the late former President Kim Jong-pil of Jaminryeon (Alliance of the Liberal Democrats) at the time of general elections in 1996.
In 1988, Kim Young-sam led the public hearing against the 5th Republic of former President Chun Doo Hwan using the then first-term National Assemblyman Roh Moo-hyun as a front-runner.
In 1996, President Kim Jong-pil of the middle-of-the-roader Jaminryeon helped Kim Dae-jung win the Presidential elections through the use of two different political groups, one seeking industrialization and the other democratization.
The success of failure of a third political party depends all on the leaders. The main thing is whether they can win the heart of the people, the voters.
In the past seven months, the South Korean government of President Moon Jae-in defended the North Korean regime of Chairman Kim Jong Un who had nuclear weapons and, at the same time, took a subservient attitude toward China who regarded the ROK nothing more than one of its subordinate states.
Under the spell of a superstition named “End to nuclear power generation,” the Moon regime destroyed the industries and obstructed the export industry. Moon also took drastic measures under the name of eliminating low wages raising the amount of the minimum wages, increasing the number of government officials beyond the ability of the country, and applying generous law provisions to violence wielders and law breakers. These measures have given rise to a situation in Korea where everyone demands things and no one takes any responsibility for the consequence.
These unreasonable situations developing notwithstanding, however, the public support rating of the state administration of the Moon government hovered over 70%.
What is the reason? It is because the first opposition Liberty Korea Party, second largest party in Korea, showed its miserable state to the Korean people.
If the opposition political camp is badly split, there is no choice for the people but to look toward the ruling party?whether they like it or not.
Now that President Hong Joon-pyo of the main opposition Liberty Democratic Party has discarded the status of an accused, he no longer has any reason to examine the facial expression of those in power. Hong should no longer try to beg innocence. Too, an end should be put to the low-quality politics.
Instead, the opposition camp should devote itself to disclosing without reserve the mal-administration and policy failures perpetrated by those in power.
What did Presidential Chief Secretary Im Jong-suk do in the United Arab Emirates? Ahn Chul-soo and Yoo Seong-min should be persuaded to introduce a motion at the National Assembly to pass a bill to carry out a parliamentary investigation of the state administration.
At the time of the last Presidential elections, Hong won 24% of the votes, Ahn did 20.4% and Yoo won 6.8% of the votes. Putting them together, the total comes to 51.2%. The total number is 10% larger than the total number of support won by Moon which was 41.1%.
In spite of these figures, if they should permit President Moon to run the affairs of the state all his own way, the opposition political leaders are all fools.
Now that Hong is completely free from the charges and Ahn and Yoo are joining hands as a centrist-conservative force, the next thing the opposition parties should do is for them to change.
A sound and healthy political structure of three opposition political parties will surely insure a benign balance and help the plane fly in a proper direction. It will also put a brake to the locomotive running beyond the speed limits.
I offer my prayers, “May the Republic of Korea in the year 2018 fly with two wings, the existing one and the one that has just been added!”
The Republic of Korea fly not lopsidedly in one direction but in a well-balanced direction!
There are good many examples of opinions expressed by various other leading Korean-language dailies in Korea concerning some of the policies of the new government. Here are examples of one leading economic daily in Korea:
Chief Editorial Writer Oh Chul-soo of Seoul Kyungje (Economic Daily), Dec. 22, 2017:
The government of President Moon Jae-in has set a compulsory minimum wage level which sounds a boon to the workers, but which could put out of job almost all the small-medium business companies in Korea.
Eight out of every 10 small business operators said that they will reduce the number of part-time workers in the New Year due to the government order to raise the level of minimum wages.
According to a survey conducted and published by Albamon with 304 small shop owner-operators on Dec. 22, 2017, a total of 79.3% of the surveyed said that they will have to reduce the number of part-time employees in the New Year.
In the case of owner-operators of bakeries and icecream houses, 95% of them said that they would have to reduce of the number of helpers.
It is high time that the government started reviewing their plan to raise the minimum wage level of workers to 10,000 won per hour.
Editorial of Seoul Kyungje, Dec. 22, 2017:
The R&D policies of the new government of President Mon Jae-in has obviously lost the direction of its destination. According to discussions with a non-governmental group of ‘excellent scientists of Korea 2017,’ the ambitious R&D reform plans of the new government are considered at the actual work site of professionals as something not practical.
The politically oriented policies pose great hindrances to the practical scientists at their research institutes. The policies of the new government such as ‘Green Growth,’ ‘Creative Economy,’ ‘Departure from Nuclear Power Generation’ and ‘New Renewable Energy’ all radical changes in the basic policies of the government, which interfere and adversely affect the normal research activities of the scientists. The new policy to give up nuclear power generation is a representative example where political logics that ignore the existing reality of Korea.
The new energy policies of the government could bring serious damage to the foundation of nuclear energy technologies built and accumulated in the Republic of Korea and inflict harm to the industrial ecology of the country. There is even heard a voice, “The state business projects have degenerated to a ‘pie sharing’ among some people.
Lee Kyung-sik firstname.lastname@example.org
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