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‘Red-Baiting’ Remarks Disrupt House Session

By Kim Kwang-tae, Korea Times, 15 November 2000

Red-baiting remarks by Rep. Kim Yong-kap of the opposition Grand National Party (GNP) caused disruption yesterday, on the second day of the interpellation session.

Rep. Kim made the controversial remarks in denouncing the ruling Millennium Democratic Party (MDP) for pressing for an amendment to the national security laws.

The government is mired in accommodating the North’s demands without taking into account the implications of the law revision. The law revision will result in the ruling MDP implementing (North Korean leader) Kim Jong-il’s unification strategy in the South, said Kim. That’s why some sectors of our society have said that the MDP is playing second fiddle to the Workers’ Party of the North.

Kim’s remarks were met with absolute hostility by lawmakers from the ruling MDP, which strongly blasted Kim for making such a remark.

Rep. Kim’s remarks, which are opposed by all Koreans, are anti-democratic and anti-unification, said MDP spokesman Park Byeong-seug. We call on the GNP to take one of two actions against Kim _ either force him to step down as lawmaker, or expel him from the GNP.

Park went on to say, The GNP has been holding back the government’s efforts to bring about inter-Korean cooperation and tension reduction. Behind the GNP’s underlying thinking lies Kim Yong-kap and those who have similar views.

Party chairman Suh Young-hoon said, Can we discuss state affairs with the GNP, which considers us an enemy?

Rep. Seol Song-woong lambasted Kim, saying, Kim made an outrageous remark, which cannot be tolerated under any circumstances.

Rep. Song Young-gil also weighed in, urging GNP president Lee Hoi-chang to spell out his clear-cut stance on the matter. Song added that the opposition party has to expel Kim from its ranks.

In the meantime, Rep. Kim refused to apologize for making the controversial remarks, putting the interpellation session on hold.

To break the latest political confrontation, MDP floor leader Chung Kyun- hwan tried to meet his GNP counterpart Chung Chang-wha, but no timetable was set for their meeting.