Issue Brief Essay

948 words - 4 pages

Both parties called for a full disclosure of the transcript, albeit for very different reasons. However, a search at the National Archives—where the original transcript was supposed to be stored as an electronic file—turned up nothing. Speculation about where that file is now and who put it there has sparked rumors that will not be recounted here. However, it is important to note that the move by the parties to disclose the transcript was not made at the behest of the public. In fact, the public was largely split in late June on what should be done with the document in question. While 31.6% thought the entire transcript should be disclosed, 33.2% of respondents stated that it should remain ...view middle of the document...

Instead, both parties arrived at a tacit understanding to chalk the dispute up to much ado about nothing. It left them both deeply scarred but able to move forward.

Quo Vadis, National Assembly?
The question that remains is what happens to both parties and, more broadly, the National Assembly. Although the phenomenon is not exclusive to Korea, the lack of confidence in the National Assembly is palpable. Since the Asan Institute began tracking confidence in institutions, the National Assembly has continually been seen as the least trusted institution (Figure 3).4

There have long been calls for the Blue House to wield less power over the governing process, and those calls came from all corners and from the National Assembly, in particular. However, the recent spate of scandals has done little to present the National Assembly as able to take on a greater role in governing the country. Instead, its members continue to pigeon-hole themselves as the sideshow to the Blue House. With President Park now leading the country, and her approval ratings virtually unaffected by the scandal, the Blue House remains the singleost trusted institution, and the only institution in which a majority of South Koreans express confidence.

Despite these scandals, it is impossible not to notice just how far South Korea has come. It was only a generation ago that the KCIA—the notorious forerunner to the NIS—struck fear into the hearts of progressive South Koreans due to its spying, coercion, and torture. By contrast, it now attempts to inBuence public opinion through posts on Internet message boards.

This is in no way meant to minimize the seriousness of an intelligence agency actively meddling in domestic politics—these are actions that strike at the very heart of democracy and are reminiscent of the world’s remaining...

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