Peace can be a more powerful tool than blunt weapons

The following are editorials from two English Newspapers of Korea – Korea Times and Korea Herald.  TW urges the readers to read these two 1255 word editorials and know how decent, disciplined, responsible and non-violent are the Koreans in conducting protests (TW watched the protests in the news telecasts on Channel News Asia, Al-Jezeera and China’s CCTV) leading to winning their just demand and how the government was tolerant.   Sri Lankan (people and the government) can take a leaf from the Koreans.  No wonder the country is a noteworthy economic power in the world- fourth in Asia and eleventh in the world.  Some parallels can be drawn between our own MR and South Korea’s just impeached Park

Impeachment and hope (Korea Times Editorial)

 Let rule of law guide nation out of this mess

People made a demand and their representatives have risen up to their masters’ call.

That was how the National Assembly passed a motion to impeach President Park Geun-hye in a strong bipartisan vote Friday.

The day was not one for celebration but one of hope that our democracy can work.

For now, that hope is all the country has to see through a challenging road ahead. But there is a sense that that is good enough to finish this journey and rise above the sea of utter hopelessness the nation has been trapped in.

The impeachment came weeks after the nation was shocked by Park’s admission that she had privatized her mandate, sharing it with her friend Choi Soon-sil who edited presidential speeches and appointed top officials.

More revelations followed in a deluge: Park had also extorted billions of won from conglomerates for Choi, who acted as if she were the president, and invited an outside stylist to coif her hair during the crucial initial hours after the Sewol ferry began sinking with hundreds of high school students on board.

These are included in the charges against Park but perhaps one that is not cited in the list is her biggest and most unforgivable crime: a breach of the people’s trust.

The driving force that enabled Park’s impeachment was people power: hundreds of thousands of them filled downtown Seoul and marched to the presidential office. Remarkably, they were peaceful with few reported injuries, setting the example that peace can be a more powerful tool than blunt weapons.

Only once before has the nation taken this path. In 2004, the late President Roh Moo-hyun was indicted by the legislature for allegedly electioneering for the ruling party ahead of a general election. Still, it was a chaotic time with state affairs put on hold. This time, the rule of law should be respected as strictly as ever to minimize any confusion.

As stipulated by law, Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn should play the role of acting president.

His two important jobs will be to ensure the Constitutional Court deliberates impartially without any undue pressure on Park’s impeachment, and to prepare as impartial umpire for a presidential election that should come within two months if the incumbent head of state leaves office before the end of her given term.

Hwang should also mind state affairs in close consultation with the National Assembly.

For President Park, it is imperative to cooperate with a special prosecutor’s investigation to get to the bottom of this unsavory affair. It is lamentable that she insists on her innocence, draining national energy by engaging in dubious acts and damaging the office of the presidency.

True, the situation is dire, but it is worth reminding ourselves as a nation that we have overcome many challenges. We must not falter at this one.

Lost 46 months

Beyond 46-day candle revolution, find truth about April 16 sinking and rehabilitate nation

The fate of President Park Geun-hye has been handed over to nine justices at the Constitutional Court by the 300-seat National Assembly.

It has been 46 days since her irregularities were exposed to the public in late October. And it has been 46 months since Feb. 25, 2013, when she took office and is thought to have embarked on irregular operation of administrative affairs.

Like the majority of citizens, we cordially welcome the landslide parliamentary passage of the bill to impeach Park on Friday.

Voting down the impeachment could have been a disaster. It would have shown that the Constitution-based legislative entity was truly lost: She is a prosecution-designated suspect, who allegedly cheated citizens and tarnished the nation’s image by masterminding influence-peddling alongside close aides and her civilian friends.

It was a bumpy road over the past few weeks for the ruling and opposition parties to finally see the motion pass, and there is no doubt that uncertainty about the country’s future has been lifted to a degree.

Nevertheless, the nation needs to be alert to the possibility that a bigger fiasco might happen now. Acting President Hwang Kyo-ahn has to draw up plans for the country by holding a series of Cabinet meetings. Priority should be put on national security and economy in place of the suspended president.

Despite his restricted role in diplomacy and personnel affairs, the Cabinet should closely monitor military readiness and economic conditions for the household and business sectors in coordination with the National Assembly.

The nation’s destiny is up to the Constitutional Court, which has the crucial obligation of paving the way for Republic of Korea to begin its normalization process as soon as possible. There has already been a lot of evidence caught by the prosecution and lawmakers that Park had breached the Constitution and been implicated in other legal violations.

We don’t believe that the court, led by its president, Park Han-chul, will go against citizens’ wishes. Though the democratic society will have to respect the decision of its nine justices, the righteous way must be the court accepting the impeachment accord. She could be a key culprit in the scandal, who deliberately took on a marionette-like role.

Simultaneously, the independent counsel, which launched its investigation into the Park Geun-hye scandal this week, has been tasked with conducting a face-to-face interrogation of the suspended Park. It should push to arrest her if she rejects a summons.

A key probe target should be the whereabouts of Park when the Sewol ferry sank on April 16, 2014.

Another urgent tasks is to trace the “runaway” Woo Byung-woo, who had served at Cheong Wa Dae as the senior secretary for civil affairs. He is suspected of playing a key role in allowing some civilians to meddle in state affairs and of having engaged in private corruption.

Woo did not appear at the National Assembly as a witness for a hearing as part of the parliamentary probe into the scandal earlier this week. Assembly staff also failed to ascertain his whereabouts, though lawmakers ordered them to force him to testify.

The independent counsel should trace and capture Woo by obtaining an arrest warrant for him as quickly as possible. Woo had not suggested any prior excuse for his absence from the hearing.

The prosecution, which was probing the scandal before the counsel’s launch, issued an overseas travel ban on Woo last month. But the investigative agency did not put him into custody after questioning him at the prosecutors’ office.

Woo is alleged to have neglected his duties as the presidential secretary in looking into the previous scandal involving Jeong Yun-hoe, which also dealt a blow to the Blue House in 2014. Jeong is the ex-husband of Choi Soon-sil, who was indicted as a key suspect in the influence-peddling scandal.

Woo’s other allegations include his mother-in-law’s shady relations with Choi. He is suspected of having pressured online game company Nexon to buy a land in the affluent southern Seoul owned by his mother-in-law.

Other accusations are that he abused his authority to secure his son favors over his two-year mandatory military service, evading his income taxes and leaking low-key criminal information in the prosecution to the business sector.

Woo, who was a prosecutor until 2012, served at Cheong Wa Dae from May 2014 to October 2016. He quit the senior secretarial post six days after cable channel JTBC’s report on the historic meddling allegations against Choi aired on Oct. 24.

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