- 팀 쇼락 “광주 보도에 대한 文대통령의 반응에 놀랐다”
팀 쇼락 기자는 문재인 대통령과 단독 인터뷰 이후 특별히 뉴스프로에 다음과 같은 메시지를 보내왔습니다.
“나는 문재인 대통령이 광주에서 두 번 연설하는 것을 본 후 그를 만났다. 두 번 다 그는 대통령 임기 동안 광주항쟁의 정신을 기리겠다고 맹세했다. 그는 또한 1980년 민주항쟁 당시 계엄군에게 살해당한 수백 명의 시민들에게 바쳐진 유명한 광주의 노래 ‘임을 위한 행진곡’을 대통령으로서 자랑스럽게 부르겠다고 약속했다. 그의 발언은 관료들이 그 노래를 제창하는 것을 금지함으로써 5.18 정신을 훼손하고자 했던 과거 보수정권에 대한 직접적인 거부였다.
나는 5월 18일 광주 외곽에 위치한 5.18 민주묘지에서 그가 광주 시민들과 함께 이 노래를 부르는 것을 보게 되기를 기대하고 있다. 이는 다음 5년 동안 그가 이끌기를 소망하는 새로운 한국의 모습을 도전적으로 보여주게 될 것이다.”
팀 쇼락 기자는 5.18 민주항쟁을 현장에서 지켜보고 세계에 알린 기자로서 한국의 새로운 대통령에 탄생에 대한 남다른 소감을 전하고 있습니다. 다음은 인터뷰 기사 요약입니다.
인권 및 노동 변호사 출신인 문재인 대통령(64세)은 역대 한국 대통령 선거에서 가장 큰 표 차이로 당선된 후보이다. 수요일에 취임선서를 마친 후 문 대통령은 협상과 대화를 바탕으로 한 새로운 외교 정책을 촉구한다는 확고한 선언으로 한국 전체를 놀라게 했다.
“저는 한반도의 평화를 위해 도움이 되는 일은 무엇이든지 할 것이다”라며 이에는 북한 방문도 포함된다고 문 대통령은 국회에서 말했다. 미국 정부에 대해서 문 대통령은 “앞으로 한미 동맹관계를 더욱 강화할 것”이라고 선언했다. 일요일 밤 광주 집회 이후 네이션지와 진행된 단독 인터뷰에서 문 대통령은 자신의 당선과 대선 직전에 벌어진 시위는 한국에서 오랫동안 이어진 민주주의를 향한 행진의 정점이라고 설명했다.
전직 인권 변호사인 문 대통령은 한국의 민주주의 역사는 1960년 당시 대한민국의 첫번째 대통령인 이승만 전 대통령을 하야시킨 일로 거슬러 올라간다고 말했다. 문 대통령은 지난 30년 간 일어난 일들을 간략하게 정리해주었다. 이명박 정부(2008년-2013년)와 박근혜의 집권 동안, 북한의 핵과 미사일 실험을 놓고 북한과의 갈등은 심하게 고조되었다. 4월, 미국과 북한은 전쟁을 향해 가는 것처럼 보였다. 그러나 내가 보도했듯, 이 상황은 한국보다 미국 정부에 더 큰 우려를 자아냈다.
문재인 대통령은 “햇볕정책”으로의 복귀와 함께 북한에 대해 더욱 개방적이고 인도적(人道的)인 접근을 약속했다. 그러나 지난 달 미 국방부는 선거를 기다리지도 않고 사드를 배치했다. 이에 대해 문재인 대통령은 이를 사드 배치를 기정사실로 만들려는 행위라고 비판했으며, 북한에 대한 문재인의 정책들이 트럼프 행정부가 취해 온 더욱 대립적인 접근 방식에 어긋나는 것으로 보이기 때문에 미국 언론은 문재인의 당선이 미국에 대한 커다란 도전이라는 프레임을 걸었다.
<더 네이션>과의 인터뷰에서, 문 대통령은 북한에 대한 자신의 더욱 회유적인 접근 방식이 미국에게도 득이 될 것이라는 단호한 입장을 나타냈다. 그는 “북핵 문제를 해결하는 것은 우리 모두에게 공히 이득이 되는 것”이라며, “한국이 적극적 역할을 맡게 된다면, 미국에게도 도움이 될 것이고 미국의 짐을 덜어주게 될 것이다”고 말했다.
수십 년 간 북한에 대해 연구해 온 서울 주재 군사 분석가 다니엘 핑크스톤은, 문 대통령을 비평하는 미국 비평가들에게 “심호흡을 하고, 무슨 일이 일어나는지 지켜보라”고 말했다. 전화 인터뷰에서 핑크스톤은 한미 간 갈등이 발생할 수 있었던 것은, 부분적으로는 트럼프의 안보팀이 아시아 정책 관련 최고위층이 공석일 정도로 체계적이지 않기 때문이라고 주장했다.
상황이 어떻게 되든 간에 문 대통령은 한국의 분단으로 인한 고통과 전쟁에서의 미국의 역할에 대해서 정확히 인식하고 있다. 내가 광주에 대해 보도한 것에 대해 문재인의 반응에 놀랐다. 우선 문재인은 내가 광주에 대해 보도한 것에 대해 “깊이 감사한다”고 했으며, 그는 그 보도가 “사실과 진실을 세계에 알렸다”고 말했다. 우리는 그로부터 발전해왔고 우리 스스로 민주주의를 수립했다”고 신중하게 덧붙였다.
다음은 뉴스프로가 번역한 <더 네이션> 기사 전문이다.
South Korea’s New President Says His Election Completes the ‘Candlelight Revolution’
In an exclusive interview, Moon Jae-in scoffs at reports of a rift with Trump and talks about his country’s past struggles for democracy.
GWANGJU—Moon Jae-in, a human rights and labor lawyer who came of age protesting authoritarian military governments backed by the United States, assumed South Korea’s presidency Wednesday after a snap election that repudiated nearly a decade of right-wing conservative rule.
Moon, 64, took office after securing about 41 percent of a total popular vote of 32.8 million, far ahead of his closest rival, the conservative Hong Joon-pyo, who ended up with 24 percent. It was the largest margin in Korean election history, the wire service Yonhap reported.
“I will restore a government based on principle and justice,” Moon declared Tuesday night in a nationally broadcast speech from Seoul’s Gwanghwamun district, which is famous for its political protests. “I will be the proud president of a proud nation.”
“I will do whatever it takes to help settle peace on the Korean Peninsula.” —President Moon Jae-in
After being sworn in Wednesday, he startled the nation with a ringing declaration calling for a new foreign policy based on negotiations and dialogue. “I will do whatever it takes to help settle peace on the Korean Peninsula,” including visiting North Korea, Moon told the National Assembly. In a nod to Washington, he also declared he would “further strengthen the alliance between South Korea and the United States.”
Moon’s election was the direct result of the impeachment of his predecessor, Park Geun-hye, who had embraced Washington’s hard-line policies toward Pyongyang. She was brought down after millions of citizens angry about corruption, economic mismanagement, abuse of power, and the uncertain future of Korean youth flooded the streets of Seoul and other major cities in a peaceful movement now known as the “candlelight revolution.”
In an exclusive interview with The Nation after a Sunday-night rally in Gwangju, Moon said his election, and the movement that preceded it, was the culmination of his nation’s long march toward democracy. “We have had many remarkable achievements,” he said. “But all those events couldn’t complete the civil revolution. Now we’ve finally done it through the candlelight movement. This is a remarkable achievement, of which we should be proud.”
Moon, a former human-rights lawyer, traced South Korea’s democratic history back to 1960, when its first president, Syngman Rhee, was overthrown. He ticked off the highlights of the past 30 years: the student-worker demonstrations in Pusan, his hometown, that preceded the assassination of the country’s first military dictator, Park Chung-hee, in October 1979; the bloody Gwangju Uprising in May 1980 against the martial-law regime imposed by another general, Chun Doo-hwan; and the Korean people’s final push for democracy and direct presidential elections in June 1987.
“Whenever democracy has fallen into a crisis, the Korean people have sprung up in rage.” —Moon Jae-in
“Whenever democracy has fallen into a crisis, the Korean people have sprung up in rage,” he told me. In fact, Moon played an integral part in that movement. As an activist, he was arrested twice in the 1970s and ’80s for protesting against Park (who was Park Geun-hye’s father) and Chun. He later became a labor lawyer, representing workers who had difficulty finding representation. Moon is best known as the chief of staff for South Korea’s last progressive president, Roh Moo-hyun.
With Park in jail, Moon aimed his campaign at dismantling Park Geun-hye’s “old regime,” as he called it on Sunday. His platform and campaign statements challenged nearly every policy of the remnants of her Saenuri Party, which split in two after her impeachment.
During his run, Moon called for reform of the country’s powerful conglomerates, or chaebol, which dominate the economy; a stronger focus on job creation for youth through new industries such as alternative energy; and increased wages and holiday time for workers.
Jin Joo, a public employee in Gwangju active in the Green Party of South Korea, said Moon’s campaign also spoke to voters angry about “the extreme situation” in South Korea over the Park government’s attacks on freedom of expression and political rights. An opinion poll a few weeks before the election found that 27.5 percent of the people chose “justice” as their top priority, above national security or economic growth, The Korea Times noted.
The public, said Joo, was particularly incensed by the Park government’s failure to rescue the hundreds of students and teachers who drowned in the tragic Sewol ferry accident in 2014, as well as its role in the death of Baek Nam-gi, an activist killed by a water cannon shot by police during a labor demonstration in 2015. Another factor was Park’s imprisonment of labor leader Han Sang-gyun, who was sentenced to several years in prison for organizing the demonstration where Baek received his fatal injury.
“With Moon’s election, we got to have our next president much sooner than expected,” Joo told me. The political atmosphere created by the candlelight protests leading up to the impeachment, she added, has allowed people to raise issues that “previously no one talked about,” such as LGBT and disability rights. (That didn’t always work for Moon, however. A few weeks ago, a lesbian activist confronted Moon at a campaign rally after he said during a televised debate that he “opposed” homosexuality.)
But as Moon indicated in his first speech, his election also represents the public’s desire for peace and reconciliation in their divided country. During the presidencies of Lee Myung-bak (2008-13) and Park, tensions escalated sharply with North Korea over its nuclear and missile-testing program. The situation intensified this spring, when the North tested several more missiles, leading to threats of pre-emptive strikes by the Trump administration. In April, the United States and the North appeared to be moving toward war. But as I reported, the situation caused far more concern in Washington than in South Korea.
Moon has promised a more “open and humanitarian” approach to North Korea, with a return to the “Sunshine Policy.”
To alleviate the tensions, Moon has promised a more “open and humanitarian” approach that would be marked by a return to the “Sunshine Policy” of South Korea’s last two progressive presidents, Kim Dae-jung (1998-2003) and Roh Moo-hyun (2003-08). During their years in office, they reached out to Pyongyang with economic projects and cultural and political exchanges. In 2007, when he was Roh’s chief of staff, Moon traveled to North Korea when Roh held a summit meeting with Kim Jong-il, the father of North Korea’s current dictator, Kim Jong-un.
At his Gwangju rally on Sunday, Moon said he would “raise my voice loudly” to place South Korea in the lead in any dealings with North Korea. He also pledged to renegotiate a deal the Trump administration struck with Park Geun-hye to deploy the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense anti-missile system, known as THAAD, in South Korea.
Last month, however, the Pentagon deployed the system without waiting for the election. This led Moon to criticize the move as a fait accompli and angered many South Koreans who oppose THAAD and continue to demonstrate against it. Because his policies on North Korea appear to be at odds with the more confrontational approach taken by the Trump administration, the US media framed Moon’s election as a major challenge to the United States.
Moon’s election sets up “a potential rift with the United States over the North’s nuclear program,” David Sanger of The New York Times predicted Wednesday. Just after the election results were announced, Josh Rogin, a Washington Post columnist and CNN analyst, tweeted that “South Korea just elected an anti-American president.”
In the weeks leading up to the vote, former and current US officials made it known they were unhappy with Moon’s potential policies. “We are headed for serious trouble,” a former US diplomat told Donald Kirk, a veteran reporter in Seoul, adding that a clash is “unavoidable.”
“If South Korea takes an active role, that would be helpful to the United States.” —Moon Jae-in
In his interview with The Nation, Moon was adamant that his more conciliatory approach toward Pyongyang would benefit the United States. “To solve the North Korea nuclear problem is in both our common interests,” he said. “If South Korea takes an active role, that would be helpful to the United States and would relieve the US burden.”
Rather than blame President Trump for the recent tensions, as many Koreans have, Moon pointed to the failures of the Park government. “The relationship between North Korea and the US has been getting worse and worse because South Korea hasn’t performed its role well,” he said.
Asked about US critics who think his approach is problematic, Moon responded emphatically, “I don’t agree.” He expressed the belief that Trump “would also sympathize with my idea and understand me on this issue.”
Daniel Pinkston, a Seoul-based military analyst who has been studying North Korea for decades, said Moon’s US critics should “take a deep breath and see what happens.” In a telephone interview, Pinkston said a US-South Korea clash was possible in part because Trump’s national security team is so disorganized, with top positions on Asia policy unfilled. “We don’t even have an ambassador here,” he said. “The Koreans need to understand that the Trump presidency is abnormal.”
At the same time, Pinkston added, Moon’s government could be constrained by US- and UN-approved sanctions on North Korea aimed at forcing Pyongyang to give up its nuclear program. As an example, he pointed to a recent proposal from Moon for South Korea to trade its rice for rare earths from the North as a way of solving Pyongyang’s rice shortage and allowing South Korean companies to buy rare minerals at a discount. Some critics have said that could violate the UN sanctions, an issue that Moon would have to negotiate.
The success of Moon’s policies will also depend on the willingness of North Korea to reciprocate on any offers from the South, said Pinkston. “Will there be a rift? It all depends on how it’s managed,” he said. 핑크스톤은 또한 문 대통령 정책들의 성공 여부는 한국이 제안하는 것에 대한 북한의 화답 의지에 또한 달려 있다고 주장했다. “분열이 있을 것인가? 이는 이 사안이 어떻게 다루어지느냐에 달려 있다.”
Whatever the case, Moon is acutely aware of the pain from Korea’s division and America’s role in the war. In December 1950, his family fled the North during the initial phase of the Korean War with a group of 14,000 refugees who were brought to the South in a flotilla organized by the US Navy and its merchant marine. Moon, who was born in 1953, wrote favorably about the Americans who helped his family in his autobiography, From Destiny to Hope.
These experiences make the right-wing attacks on Moon as a “North Korean sympathizer” sound as ludicrous as the accusations from US pundits that he is “anti-American.” But if he wanted to openly criticize the United States, he declined my offer when I asked him about his thoughts on the Gwangju Uprising.
During his campaign stops here, I heard Moon say he would honor the spirit of the uprising when he became president. But in 1980, I reminded him, the United States refused to support the democratic aspirations of Gwangju and instead approved the deployment of Korean troops from the joint US-South Korean Command to put it down. Does he believe the US government should apologize?
Moon offered his “deep thanks” to me for my reporting on Gwangju, which he said “revealed the facts…to the world.”
I was surprised by Moon’s response. First, he offered his “deep thanks” to me for my reporting on Gwangju, which he said “revealed the facts and truth to the world.” That was important, he added, because at that time, “South Korea was under dictatorship and the Korean press was controlled.”
As for the United States, he added carefully, “We expected a more active US role [at the time of Gwangju]. But since then, we’ve won enough power to achieve democracy by ourselves. So I don’t think we need to be bound by the past or care about [an apology] for the US role. It doesn’t matter, because we have moved on, and established democracy for ourselves.”
Not everyone here will agree with Moon on that issue. But it’s hard to think of a better way to tell the world that a new South Korea has emerged, and is ready take its rightful place in the sun.
뉴스프로 (TheNewsPro) firstname.lastname@example.org