|Rep. Hong Young-pyo, second from left, floor leader of the Democratic Party of Korea (DPK) speaks at the National Assembly, Monday, after agreeing to work with the Bareunmirae Party, the Party for Democracy and Peace and the Justice Party to resolve a controversy over defamatory remarks made by Liberty Korea Party lawmakers against the May 18 Gwangju Democratization Movement. / Yonhap|
By Park Ji-won
Four political parties have agreed to work together to deprive three Liberty Korea Party (LKP) lawmakers of their seats over defamatory remarks they made against victims of the brutal military crackdown on the May 18 Gwangju Uprising in 1980.
Floor leaders of the four parties — Rep. Hong Young-pyo of the ruling Democratic Party of Korea (DPK), Rep. Kim Kwan-young of the Bareunmirae Party, Rep. Chang Byoung-wan of the Party for Democracy and Peace (PDP) and Rep. Youn So-ha of the Justice Party —agreed Monday to push for the expulsion of the three from the legislature.
They agreed to refer Kim Jin-tae, Lee Jong-myeong and Kim Soon-rye to the National Assembly Ethics Committee.
During a forum they jointly hosted Feb. 8, The three lawmakers made slanderous remarks against the May 18 Gwangju Uprising and victims of the deadly military crackdown, echoing the views of far-right researcher Jee Man-won, who claims the popular uprising was orchestrated by North Korean Special Forces.
During the forum, Kim jin-tae said, "North Korea followers became popular here. Thanks to them, the May 18 victims are acting like monsters. We waste taxes on them."
Lee added, "History should remember the uprising as a riot because North Korean soldiers were part of it."
"It is deplorable to pay attention to the victims and waste taxes," Kim Soon-rye said, citing the state subsidies they receive.
DPK Chairman Rep. Lee Hae-chan, said in a statement Monday, "I express deep regret and anger over the reckless remarks made during a fact-finding hearing on the May 18 Gwangju Democratization Movement hosted by LKP lawmakers. I hope the LKP will make a public apology and every effort to expel those who made the defamatory remarks."
Floor leader Hong also hinted at possibly filing a lawsuit against them. "The DPK will push for filing a defamation suit against them for calling participants of the May 18 Gwangju Democratization Movement a group of monsters," he said.
Chang added, "The PDP's Rep. Choi Gyung-hwan will file criminal charges against those LKP lawmakers on Thursday with the DPK's Rep. Sul Hoon."