Community elders admonish Lee for policy failures

Posted on : 2009-01-06 12:57 KST Modified on : 2019-10-19 20:29 KST
To get through the current crisis, Lee administration is urged to regain the public’s trust and drop policies that are divisive
 including Pastor Park Hyung-kyu
including Pastor Park Hyung-kyu

A group of 106 community elders representing various areas of society, including Rev. Park Hyong-gyu and former Vice Prime Minister Han Wan-sang, issued to the media on Monday a statement in which they called on the administration of President Lee Myung-bak to enact a major change in its policies, reminding it that “the strength needed to overcome crises comes from the people.”

Meeting at the Korea Press Center on Seoul’s Taepyeongno boulevard for what they called an “Emergency Press Conference by Representatives of Society Upon Entering 2009, a Year in Crisis,” the group read a statement saying that the government “needs to bring together the wisdom and strength of the people and win their confidence” if it wants to “perform its role in this crisis,” but that the “way the Lee administration has governed for the past year has caused much disappointment.” They also called on the administration to “listen to the voices of the people” and said they “hope to see bold changes in policy.”

The elders cited policies they said are dividing the country, including the “national foundation day” controversy, which they said took away from the legitimacy of the Provisional Government of the Republic of Korea in Shanghai; tax cuts that have led to accusations the administration is a “government of the rich”; and the administration’s placing broadcasting at risk of coming under the control of the big business chaebol and major newspaper companies.

“Whatever may happen along the way, the government should be administered with dialogue and by finding agreement. Once you use the coercion of police power, you come to depend on it and fall into the temptation to use violence,” the statement went on to say.

The groups also discussed inter-Korean relations, saying that improved relations between the United States and North Korea are in the works for the coming year, and that “following behind that will not make it possible to proactively plan for the future of the Korean people.” They called on the Lee administration to promote a North Korea policy of “joint prosperity and coexistence.”

The statement also called on the public to “discuss, with depth, how to expand a ‘democratic market economy’ in Korea, one in which democracy and the market economy develop together, instead of the jungle capitalism of strong-eats-weak, which is what we have with neoliberalism.”

Other notable signers of the statement include Jeong Gwang-hun of Jinbo Yeondae, former Korean Bar Association President Park Jae-seung, novelist Hwang Sok-yong, and Lee So-sun, the mother of martyr Chun Tae-il.

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