Following Foreign Minister Ban Ki-moon, who expressed his wish to quit in mid-November to prepare for his new job as the U.N. secretary-general, Defense Minister Yoon Kwang-ung and Unification Minister Lee Jong-seok offered to resign earlier this week, holding themselves responsible for “confused” policies on the North Korean nuclear crisis and the Seoul-Washington military alliance.
Not everyone had been expecting this.
“The president had intended to separate the reshuffle of his foreign and security team from the replacement of the NIS chief. But the situation changed due to Kim’s resignation,” said a ranking official at Roh’s office Cheong Wa Dae.
The star of DOA 56 continues to be the favored choice to replace Ban Ki Moon:
“With Song Min-soon, chief presidential secretary for security policy, favored as new foreign minister, all members of the foreign and security policy team will be replaced.”
The resignation may also be tied to the discovery of this North Korean espionage ring involving members of South Korea’s radical left,chiefly among the Democratic Labor Party. North Korean influence over the left in South Korea shouldn’t have come as a huge shock to anyone who had read my recent testimony. Nor do I know why it surprises me that Americans would betray their country, what, with CNN just a few buttons away on my remote and Madame Nguyen Thi Binh’s near-betrayal of the Viet Cong to a reserve naval officer from Massachusetts. But I digress.
Authorities are holding a U.S. citizen, Michael Chang (44), who they say was trained as a spy in North Korea between 1989 and 1993, became a member of the ruling Korean Workers Party, pledged allegiance to the party, and spied for the North for 10 years.
More interesting details on ex-DLP leader and commie agent Choi Ki-Young.
Investigators believe [vice DLP secretary general Choi Ki-young] was the link among the former student activists — members of the so-called 386 generation — and was also in touch with Pyongyang. Choi, a leading student activist in the 1980s, has extensive contacts among politicians and labor organizations. He was an executive of the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU) and played a key role in establishing the DLP. He served time in jail for violating the law on demonstrations but was given W8.9 million (US$1=W950) in compensation from an official body called the Commission for Democratization Movement Activists’ Honor-Restoration and Compensation in March this year. Lee Jung-hun, who took the lead in the three-day seizure of the U.S. Information Service building in Seoul in May 1985, was given W39 million by the commission in November 2001.
If I’d known this a month ago….
Incidentally, tarring the entire 386 generation with the big red brush seems a bit excessive to me.
So why resign just because he actually caught some people? Maybe because Korean culture has a no-fault, all-encompassing concept of command responsibility for everything that goes wrong under the leader’s watch. But it would be interesting to know just what the NIS knew, and when.