| The South Korean intelligence agency Friday disclosed part of the transcripts for a meeting of Lee Seok-ki, a lawmaker of the minority opposition United Progressive Party, and his underground Revolutionary Organization. According to Lee`s conversation transcript acquired by the National Intelligence Service, he told his organization members that whatever they do would be considered "patriotic" in the North but "rebellious" in the South.
According to the transcript, Lee said that the members should make "political and military preparations" for irregular warfare, which he said would continue. In other words, Lee urged the members to prepare for an armed uprising to support North Korea-led reunification of Korea.
The intelligence agency said that other members of the organization, including Lee Sang-ho, an advisor to the Gyeonggi Progressives Alliance, in which Lee Seok-ki was involved, had detailed discussions about how they could strike South Korea`s major infrastructure, such as telecommunication, gas and oil facilities, in "important times such as war." Those who are skeptical about whether it is possible for about 130 people gathered in the meetings to raise a rebellion against South Korea are misjudging the case. In the event of a North Korean invasion of South Korea, how many people partake in destroying state infrastructure doesn`t matter in constituting the crime of rebellion. The law enforcement agencies should leave no stones unturned in investigating Lee, the key figure in the rebellion case. After the Suwon District Prosecutors` Office filed with the Suwon District Court for an arrest warrant for Lee, the court asked prosecutors to bring written parliamentary approval for the arrest of the lawmaker. Now, the ball is in the National Assembly`s court.
The request for the arrest of the lawmaker will be sent to the parliament after President Park Geun-hye approves it. The National Assembly is required to vote on the arrest within 72 hours after the request is reported. Since a regular parliamentary session is scheduled for next Monday, the assembly can vote on the request around Wednesday. If more than half of all registered lawmakers are present at the parliamentary session and at least half of those present agree to Lee`s arrest, the court will allow the prosecution to arrest him.
This is the first time that a law enforcement agency to seek an arrest warrant for an incumbent lawmaker on charges of rebellion. Considering the severity of the case, how the ruling and opposition parties handle the case will have a significant meaning. The ruling Saenuri Party, which holds a majority of seats in the parliament, can handle the arrest warrant without seeking opposition parties` cooperation. When it comes to handling those who negate the legitimacy of the Republic of Korea itself, however, there can be no ruling and opposition parties. The National Assembly should not cause any delay in investigating them at least to find truth about the case.
The main opposition Democratic Party has the "original sin" of helping pro-North Korea candidates win parliamentary seats by forming an alliance with the United Progressive Party in last year`s general elections. The Democratic Party said Friday that it had severed its ties with the troubled party due to its "undemocratic" party operations and its view of nation it had shown after the general elections and will not restore the ties until the extreme left-wing reforms itself. If the announcement is true, the Democratic Party has no reason for balking at approving Lee`s arrest.
Democratic Party Chairman Kim Han-gil has said it is "shocking" and "intolerable" if the allegations against Lee are true. Still, he has said that his party will closely watch how the investigation will go on, as the spy agency is investigating the case despite the public criticism for its alleged involvement in last year`s presidential election. The intelligence agency`s probe into the United Progressive Party is to investigate and punish those who attempt to help North Korea overthrow the South Korean government. Issues regarding the intelligence agency`s political intervention and reform should be pursued separately from this case.