What was noticeable in President Yoon Suk Yeol's Liberation Day speech was an alarm at "communist totalitarian forces."
Yoon clarified his will to defeat the forces to defend liberal democracy. He likened Korea's independence movement to a journey in search of freedom.
In his speech marking the 78th Liberation Day on Tuesday, he said: "Still rampant are anti-state forces that blindly follow communist totalitarianism, distort public opinion, and disrupt society through manipulative propaganda."
This remark was made in the context of emphasizing the stark differences between the Republic of Korea that opted for and pursued freedom and democracy and North Korea that chose communist totalitarianism. His words take aim at pro-North Korean forces in South Korea who incite social conflicts under the mask of progressives.
"The forces of communist totalitarianism have always disguised themselves as democracy activists, human rights advocates or progressive activists while engaging in despicable and unethical tactics and false propaganda," Yoon said, "We must never succumb to the forces of communist totalitarianism. We must not be deceived by those who follow and serve them." As Yoon noted, it is important for every member of our society to value liberty and democracy not to be deceived by anti-state forces.
It is not the first time that Yoon condemned such forces.
In a ceremony commemorating the foundation of the Korea Freedom Federation in June, Yoon said that “too many forces shake and threaten liberal democracy of the Republic of Korea and gainsay the identity of the country by inciting people with false information, manipulating facts and spreading fake news and unfounded stories.”
His words may stir up political controversy because he did not specify which forces he was referring to, but it is right to emphasize that liberal democracy should be protected from communist forces. This is a natural posture for a national leader vowing to rebuild the governing system, which was not so much emphasized under the previous leftist regime.
The government of President Moon Jae-in always tried to appease North Korea throughout its five-year term, even as Pyongyang kept upgrading its nuclear and missile capabilities targeting South Korea and its ally, the United States. The Moon administration shook the foundation of the US alliance by effectively dissolving combined Korea-US military exercises, which is what Pyongyang has always demanded. The Moon regime passed legislation to weaken the investigative functions of the National Intelligence Service, an agency that catches spies working for North Korea.
Yoon said in October last year that South Korean dissidents who follow North Korea’s ruling ideology are neither progressives nor leftists and that it is impossible to cooperate with such hostile anti-state forces.
In January, he said that when it comes to human rights in North Korea, those pro-North Korean people vehemently refuse to talk about them. Former democracy demonstrators demonize autocratic leadership of past South Korean strongmen such as Park Chung-hee and Chun Doo-hwan, but say nothing about the world’s worst dictatorship in North Korea.
The busts of spy rings based in Jeju Province and Changwon, South Gyeongsang Province this year show that pro-North Korean forces are acting for the sake of North Korea throughout the South Korean society. A ranking official of an obscure leftist political party was found to have received orders from Pyongyang to lead an antigovernment struggle in the South. A high-ranking member of a progressive labor group was found to have spied for Pyongyang for many years. Pro-North Korean forces may be bigger than thought. They are likely to be acting clandestinely in the opposition camp rather than on the ruling side.
Anti-state forces who act for North Korea under the cloak of being liberals bruise liberal democracy by spreading fake news and conspiracy theories, and always try to divide public opinion. Pro-North Korean forces who undermine South Korea’s national interests and threaten its liberal democracy must be rooted out.