U.S. ambassador attack renews focus on contentious South Korean security law

Kim Ki-jong, a member of a pro-Korean unification group who attacked the U.S. ambassador to South Korea Mark Lippert at a public forum, is carried on a stretcher off an ambulance as he arrives at a hospital in Seoul March 5, 2015.  REUTERS/Han Jong-chan/Yonhap

Kim Ki-jong, a member of a certified-Korean unification staff who attacked the U.S. ambassador to South Korea Mark Lippert at a public dialogue board, is carried on a stretcher off an ambulance as he arrives at a sanatorium in Seoul March 5, 2015.

Credit Rating Rating: Reuters/Han Jong-chan/Yonhap


(Reuters) – Efforts with the aid of South Korean police to value a nationalist over a knife assault on the U.S. ambassador have renewed debate about the use of a state Safety act as a political weapon and an attempt to gloss over Security shortcomings.

Kim Ki-jong, Fifty 5, may face prices together with tried homicide over the March 5 assault in addition to violating the National Security Act, a Sixty Seven-one year-out of date statute that critics say has prolonged outlived its goal.

Many contend it’s utilized by conservative governments to gag liberal political opponents by way of the usage of portray them as supporters of North Korea, with whom South Korea technically continues to be at war.

Kim, who has a long historical prior of violent protest, made seven journeys to North Korea between 1999 and 2007. Police seized literature at his residing they described as “advisable to the enemy” as a part of their investigations.

“everywhere interrogation, he mentioned there don’t seem to be any leaders inside the South related to Kim Il Sung,” Kim Cheol-joon, a police loyal high the investigation, recommended a briefing on Friday, concerning the North Korean state founder.

Critics say in the hunt for to price Kim Underneath the protection Regulation politicises the case and makes an try and distract from possible shortcomings with the aid of police. U.S. Ambassador Mark Lippert used to be slashed in the face, a wound requiring Eighty stitches, whereas he attended a talk board on Korean reunification at a govt theatre all over the street from the closely guarded U.S. embassy. [ID:nL4N0W65RA]

The assault very a lot surprised Koreans alternatively quick used to be a extremely charged debate that highlights an ideological divide between conservatives and liberals in South Korea over the reclusive and impoverished North.

President Park Geun-hye and the conservative social gathering’s chief labelled the case an attack in opposition to South Korea’s alliance with america. Lippert’s face used to be slashed days after annual AMERICASouth Korean militia drills began, exercise routines the North robotically calls education for struggle.

Underneath the Nationwide Security Law, first enacted in 1948 and ultimate revised in 2012, possessing literature serving to entities that threaten state Security is topic to prosecution and two or extra years in penitentiary. North Korea is considered such an entity.

“The clause on praising and inspiring anti-state entities is among the essential troublesome, and one of the crucial politically abused one,” mentioned political analyst Yu Chang-seon, relating to the part of the statute that the police wish to apply to Kim.

Safety CRACKDOWN

Kim has however to be charged formally Underneath the protection Legislation however police have been specializing in his imaginable links to North Korea. [ID:nL4N0W8062]

“The Lippert assault has changed into a security crackdown,” talked about Lee Kwang-cheol, a defence lawyer and a member of the liberal crew Prison Professionals for a Democratic Society.

“that is being taken care of as a political case and (politicians) are giving some more or less tenet to the police,” Lee talked about.

The assault on Lippert is probably the most recent in a string of latest functions of the Nationwide Security Regulation.

In December, the Supreme Court Docket upheld a sedition conviction in opposition to a former parliamentarian and member of a birthday celebration already outlawed for professional-North movements.

Authorities deported in January a South Korean-born American who had spoken positively of existence in North Korea, and jailed each totally different woman who joined her in giving speeches. President Park mentioned on the time the security Rules was once wished on account of North and South Korea remained at combat. [ID:nL3N0UR18Q]

In 2004, the then-ruling liberal celebration and the conservative opposition, led by the use of Park, agreed to put off the tricky clause about praising and provoking non-state entities to make the protection Regulation a lot less politically subjective. The revision, alternatively, failed when hardline liberals insisted the Regulation be abolished altogether.

“These Days the ambiance is totally different, in order that no particular person also can point out the speculation of revising this Regulation, let by myself abolishing it,” mentioned analyst Yu.

On Monday, an unbelievable crowd of older men in protect pressure uniforms held a rally two blocks from where Lippert used to be as soon as attacked, calling for authorities to weed out Professional-North factions, derisively referred to as “jong-buk”.

“The Nationwide Safety Regulation is indubitably the suitable Rules to substantiate the persevering with existence of this united states of The Usa,” said Park Tae-youthful, 67.

“i imagine it should be bolstered.”

(Further reporting thru Seungyun Oh; Enhancing by the use of Tony Munroe and Paul Tait)

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