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Minjoo Party's capricious stance over THAAD deployment

Posted July. 11, 2016 07:26,   

Updated July. 11, 2016 07:29


The Minjoo Party’s spokesperson Lee Jae-jeong made a comment on the THAAD deployment on Sunday by saying, “We are very disappointed by the presidential office that makes such a dogmatic and hasty decision on the THAAD deployment when it had to be wiser while putting national benefits and safety as the top priorities.” His remark takes a different view from that of Kim Jong-in, interim chief of the Minjoo Party, and that of another spokesperson Lee Jae-kyung. On Friday, Kim Jong-in stated, “I do not completely disagree with the THAAD deployment,” and Lee Jae-kyung noted, “If the deployment can be beneficial to Korea, (why not?)” Such lack of security awareness of the leading opposition party will only make the public anxious and give more power to China, which is against the deployment.

As the Minjoo Party announced its conditional approval for the THAAD deployment, influential members of the Minjoo Party such as Choo Mi-ae and Song Young-gil argued, “We need to review this agenda from the starting point.” The pro-Moon Jae-in side, which is the party’s largest group, and minor groups have joined the anti-THAAD movement. Kim Jong-in responded to their disapprovals by saying, “Those in their third, fourth, and fifth terms are stuck in the past with their old ideas and do not see the changes coming up.” Moon Jae-in, former leader of the Minjoo Party, returned from his Himalaya trip on Sunday and has not made any comment on the issue yet when he should have made a clear stance.

Interim chief Kim Jong-in and his followers have continued their "rightist security activities" such as visiting military bases around the April 13 general elections. Such activities dispelled the public concern about the party’s lack of security awareness and contributed to their victory in the general elections. Their party platform and policies include phrases that emphasize the importance of the Korea-U.S. alliance such as “based on the strong Korea-US alliance” and “to make the Korea-US alliance, which is our diplomatic foundation, future-oriented.” Are they going back to their past now, when the THAAD deployment has become a reality? The Minjoo Party will not be able to win against the leading party in the presidential election next year if the public think that the party still lacks security awareness.

People’s Party Rep. Ahn Cheol-soo stated Sunday, “The THAAD agenda needs to be ratified by the National Assembly as it requires certain land and expenditure.” Justice Party Chairwoman Shim Sang-jung also shares the same view as Ahn. The THAAD deployment, placing American security assets in Korea, does not require ratification from the parliament according to Article 60 of the Constitution. It is hard to understand that the People’s Party, which used to pose as conservative in security matters, is now setting out the same argument as the progressive party. North Korea tested their SLBM (submarine-launched ballistic missile) one day after the announcement on the THAAD deployment was made, and China and Russia are strongly opposing the decision as well. In this backdrop where Korea’s diplomatic standing is being shaken, the opposing parties' discrepancy is as foolish as internal discord during a war.

박제균논설위원 phark@donga.com