Decency of lawmakers
Lim should make sincere apology to defectors
Rep. Lim Su-kyung’s abusive remarks last week against North Korean defectors and a ruling party lawmaker are creating a stir, raising the possibility that the controversy over ``pro-North’’ legislators may spread to her main opposition Democratic United Party (DUP).
The row comes at a time when the minor opposition Unified Progressive Party (UPP) is teetering on the brink of breaking up as some of the party’s pro-North Korean members became lawmakers in the 19th National Assembly despite a vote-rigging scandal in the selection of its proportional representative candidates.
Needless to say, her foul language toward a former North Korean defector ― now a university student in Seoul ― is inappropriate and raises questions of whether Lim, who was often called the ``flower of unification,’’ is qualified to become a lawmaker. She explained that she made such derogatory remarks after being angered by a joke from the student who had his photos taken with Lim deleted by one of her aides and offered an apology for her remarks.
We can understand her remarks as a slip of tongue while intoxicated but can’t accept her distorted views on North Korean defectors. Yosep Baek, the defector-turned-student, quoted Lim as denouncing North Korean defectors as traitors with ``no roots’’ and vilifying Rep. Ha Tae-keung of the governing Saenuri Party, who once worked with her in the 1980s, as a turncoat for his conversion to an anti-North Korea activist.
North Korean defectors deserted their hometowns to seek freedom after torturous lives under the dynastic rule of the Kim family. We believe that Lim would have witnessed North Koreans’ ordeal while staying in the North in 1989 and heard of the chronic famine there.
We see the lingering``pro-North’’ shadow from the latest incident and suspect that she might be still haunted by North Korea’s anachronistic ``juche (self-reliance)’’ ideology. Lim, a former pro-North Korea student activist, won national fame after making an unauthorized trip to the communist nation in 1989 and meeting with then leader Kim Il-sung, the North’s founder and grandfather of current leader Kim Jong-un. Lim entered the National Assembly as a proportional representation candidate for the DUP in the April 11 parliamentary elections.
The DUP, which suffered an unexpected defeat in the elections due partly to its unprincipled alliance with the UPP, should be criticized for lacking sincerity in dealing with the latest row. Rep. Park Jie-won, the DUP’s interim leader, defended Lim, saying, ``There is no measure the party plans to take as we trust Rep. Lim’s heartfelt apology, repentance and clarification.’’ But his pompous attitude ― far apart from what ordinary people feel ― is regrettable enough.
Lim should sincerely apologize both to the public and defectors from the North once again and learn to be humble as a lawmaker.