Kim Sung-tae, the floor leader of the main opposition Liberty Korea Party, said Tuesday that his party has been falsely accused by the Moon Jae-in administration of having been complicit with the Defense Security Command’s recently revealed plan to declare martial law in 2017, involving the deployment of tanks and special forces.
The recently disclosed document was apparently drawn up in the event the Constitutional Court ruled against the impeachment of then-President Park Geun-hye. Massive monthslong demonstrations had led to the ouster of Park, who was at the time a Liberty Korea Party member.
“The Moon administration is, without any solid evidence, framing our party as a collaborator in an illicit plan to trigger civil unrest,” Kim said at the National Assembly.
“Article 77 of the Constitution guarantees the president’s right to proclaim marital law when it is required to cope with a military necessity or to maintain public safety and order by mobilization of the military forces in a time of national emergency.”
Kim Sung-tae, the floor leader of the main opposition Liberty Korea Party. (Yonhap)
Kim’s comments are in part a response to President Moon Jae-in’s remarks last week, in which he claimed the DSC’s controversial plan, which included invoking martial law against peaceful anti-government protests, should be considered an illegal act by itself.
The document could have led to preparations for a military coup, causing a serious threat to the country’s democracy, according to critics.
Kim has also alleged that the DSC drew up a document on a possible imposition of martial law after the 2004 impeachment of then-President Roh Moo-hyun. President Moon served as Roh’s chief of staff during the Roh administration. The DSC has denied Kim’s allegations.
Kim said he would consider filing a complaint against Cheong Wa Dae spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom, and Im Tae-hoon, director of the Center for Military Human Rights Korea, an NGO, for violating the Enforcement Decree of Military Secret Protection Act by disclosing the DSC document to the public.
"It seems suspicious to me how Im, who leads an NGO, had his access to confidential military documents," Kim said.
He also publicly attacked Im for his sexual orientation, claiming that as a gay man who never served in the military -- Im served jail term as a conscientious objector -- he “does not have the capability” to be involved in the ongoing military reform in the country.
The ruling Democratic Party’s chairwoman Choo Mi-ae immediately criticized Kim’s remarks, claiming he is deliberately spreading fake news by alleging that the DSC drew up a document on a possible imposition of martial law in 2004, after the impeachment of then-President Roh.
She also said his public remarks against Im‘s sexual orientation was inappropriate and irrelevant to to the latest developments of the DSC scandal.