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Last Updated: Thursday, 11 March, 2004, 11:59 GMT
South Korean papers deplore Roh crisis
South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun

The South Korean press laments the fact that the dispute between President Roh Moo-hyun and opposition parties is now consuming so much political energy.

Most papers call on the politicians to put their squabbles behind them as quickly as possible and get on with the job of governing the country.

The Korea Times points out that the moves to impeach Mr Roh are unprecedented in the country's recent history.

"This is the first time that an incumbent head of state has been threatened with being ousted since the foundation of the Republic in 1948," the paper notes.

Both the president and the opposition should think seriously before taking their final steps and find a compromise
JoongAng Ilbo

The paper says that now is a particularly bad time to indulge in political in-fighting, and advises all concerned to turn their attention to more important matters.

"We believe that this is not the time for a political feud to grip the nation when the middle part of the country has been hit hard by the recent snow storms, adding to the economic slump.

"With little more than one month left till the general elections, the political parties should immediately stop fighting over the fate of President Roh and battle with policies."

"War of nerves"

Dong-A Ilbo also deplores the refusal of either side in the dispute to back down.

"With the economy being clouded by the recession, the do-or-die political standoff over the impeachment against President Roh Moo-hyun is arousing a sense of crisis in which the entire country may slide into an irreversible quagmire."

Noting that opinion polls showed the majority of the South Korea people were opposed to the impeachment moves, but felt Mr Roh should still apologise for his breach of election rules, the paper calls on the president and his opponents to reach a compromise.

Wildly wielding the sword of impeachment while holding the country and the people hostage is a move too far
Hangyore

"The solution is out there, only to be ignored by the presidential office and politicians."

The JoongAng Ilbo echoes this view, warning that if the dispute is allowed to smoulder on, it could have an adverse effect on the conduct of next month's general election.

"If the governing and opposition parties continue this war of nerves, it is not hard to predict the outcome... If voting does take place, chaos will reign," an editorial headlined "Political stupidity" declares.

"Both the president and the opposition should think seriously before taking their final steps and find a compromise."

Calls to back down

The centre-left daily Hangyore accuses those pushing for impeachment of being motivated mainly by political opportunism.

"The judgment of many around the country is that... wildly wielding the sword of impeachment while holding the country and the people hostage is a move that goes too far."

The paper calls on the opposition to "withdraw the bill to impeach the president. They must fear history and the people. If they force a vote out of reasons of partisan strategy, the axe is going to fall on their own feet."

The nationalistic Chosun Ilbo, on the other hand, calls on Mr Roh to back down and apologise.

"While more than half of the people are opposed to impeachment, at the very same time, an overwhelming number of people think he should apologise. He needs to realise that depending on the form and content of an apology, the situation could be turned round completely."

BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.




SEE ALSO:
Profile: Roh Moo-hyun
13 Oct 03  |  Asia-Pacific
S Korea president's aides charged
29 Dec 03  |  Asia-Pacific
S Korea slush scandal spreads
22 Oct 03  |  Asia-Pacific
Embattled Roh seeks referendum
13 Oct 03  |  Asia-Pacific
Country profile: South Korea
24 May 03  |  Country profiles


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