Japan Institute for National Fundamentals

Speaking out

Tsutomu Nishioka

【#498】Moon Welcomed Killer of 46 South Korean Sailors

Tsutomu Nishioka / 2018.03.01 (Thu)

February 26, 2018

     “The Moon Jae In government asked us to accept Kim Yong Chol’s visit from a broader perspective. If the government welcomes the person who killed 46 people and refused to admit the killing, however, it will trample down the honor of those who sacrificed themselves for the country,” said a bereaved family of one of the victims who died due to an attack on the South Korean Navy’s Cheonan corvette in 2010.
Military road opened to North Koreans
     Around 9:53 a.m. on February 25, Kim Yong Chol, vice chairman of the Central Committee of North Korea’s ruling Workers’ Party and Director of United Front Department, arrived at the Dorasan CIQ (customs, immigration and quarantine) office in the city of Paju in South Korea’s Gyeonggi province by rail. To go to Seoul from the office, his party had to cross the Unification Bridge over the Imjin River.
     From around 6:30 p.m. on February 24, lawmakers of the Liberty Korea Party, a conservative opposition group, bereaved families of victims in the Cheonan attack and their supporters staged a sit-in on the Jayu Motorway at the southern end of the Unification Bridge, chanting that they would block the visit by Kim Yong Chol, the main culprit of the Cheonan attack. The sit-in was decided on the previous day abruptly by Liberty Korea Party floor leader Kim Sung Tae who had told a press conference that armed forces should arrest or shoot to kill Kim Yong Chol if he comes to South Korea.
     However, the Moon government diverted the Kim party to a military road in a South Korean military operation zone. The party’s bus went east on the military road and crossed the military Tyonjin Bridge to go to Seoul. The party got on a special train at Tokso station, where high-speed trains do not stop usually. After the closing ceremony for the Pyeongchang Olympics, the Kim party went back to the station on board the train and entered a hotel, delaying high-speed trains by 10 minutes. (The diversion map is given in a Chosun Ilbo article in the following website:
     President Moon talked with the Kim party in Pyeongchang for as long as 60 minutes. No part of the meeting was open to the press. A written summary of the talks was released, with no photo or video footage made available. President Moon did mention neither the North Korean nuclear missile program nor the Cheonan attack. While President Moon told the North Korean party that Washington-Pyongyang talks should be held at an early date to improve the relationship between North and South Korea and essentially resolve the Korean Peninsula problem, Kim Yong Chol said Pyongyang was sufficiently prepared to have talks with Washington, according to the release. President Moon shook hands with Kim Yong Chol at the site for the closing ceremony for the Olympics. The South Korean minister of unification entertained the Kim party for dinner.

“A starting point for a federation”
     Hong Jun Pyo, Chairman of the Liberty Korea Party, described the present situation as representing a crisis for the national polity of South Korea:
     “[The Moon government] is a pro-Pyongyang leftist regime that does not hesitate to secretly open a military road to an arch-enemy leader. We are now at a starting point for a low-level federation (as proposed by North Korea for the unification of the two Koreas). … [The Moon government] has begun to unveil its substance. Next, it will seek to lead the South Korea society to delete freedom from the constitution, establish a socialistic regime, expel U.S. forces from South Korea, abolish the national security law and introduce a Korean federation. Our Liberty Korea Party is the last bastion to defend the free Republic of Korea.”
     Conservative newspapers including the Chosun Ilbo and the Donga Daily harshly criticized the Moon government for accepting Kim Yong Chol’s visit. I would like to pay attention to how South Korean conservatives would struggle in the future.

Tsutomu Nishioka is a member of the Planning Committee at the Japan Institute for National Fundamentals and Visiting Professor at Reitaku University.