Ex-President's Remarks Stir Up Political Sphere

Article excerpt

Former president Kim Young-sam's description of President Kim Dae-jung as a dictator has plunged the political sector into extreme upheaval, inciting mixed responses from both the ruling and opposition parties.

Coalition camp insiders interpreted Kim's statement as an attempt to provoke a fierce response from the ruling camp, thus facilitating the ex-president's bid to beef up his political influence by inciting anti-Kim Dae-jung sentiment in his political stronghold, Pusan and Kyongsang-namdo.

Chong Wa Dae and the ruling National Congress for New Politics (NCNP) tried to remain cool, declaring Kim's statement unworthy of comment and releasing no immediate response.

But the internal atmosphere was far less stable. Chong Wa Dae insiders dismissed Kim's remarks as a scheme aimed at helping him achieve his political goals.

``Former president Kim is in no position to issue such a statement as he was the very figure most responsible for the state of affairs which led the nation to near ruin,'' said NCNP spokesman Rep. Chung Dong-young.

NCNP standing advisor Lee Man-sup said it is the people's collective wish for the former presidents, including Kim, to remain silent even though they may harbor concern over state of national affairs.

``Who on earth wants to listen to what they say as they are no longer even entitled to run for presidency?'' Lee said.

Rep. Park Chul-un, vice president of the United Liberal Democrats, also denounced Kim for making such ``preposterous'' remarks. It appears, he said, that Kim has already forgotten his responsibility for bringing on the financial crisis. He added that it is ``desirable'' for Kim to keep quiet until the nation fully addresses the lingering economic woes. …