Moon: Spirit of May 18 Movement should be inscribed in Constitution

May 18, 2020, 09:30 am

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President Moon Jae-in speaks at Cheong Wa Dae during an interview with local broadcaster MBC to mark the 40th anniversary of the May 18 Democratization Movement, on May 17, 2020./ Source: Cheong Wa Dae

AsiaToday reporter Lee Seok-jong

President Moon Jae-in said that the spirit of the May 18 Democratization Movement should be inscribed in a new constitution. The president said he will firmly respond to those that try to conceal and distort the truth of the 1980 pro-democracy movement in Gwangju. 

Moon said that the nation has to find out who ordered the opening of fire during the May 18 Democratic Uprising. “It has not been revealed who ordered the shooting and where the final legal responsibility for it is,” he said. “We should identify all the victims of the massacre, and find out how the military fired machine-guns from helicopters and how the distortion and cover-up maneuvering were carried out,” he said. 

The president made the remarks in a special interview with the Gwangju regional station of MBC aired on Sunday on the eve of the 40th anniversary of the May 18 Democratization Movement. The interview took place at the Sangchunjae pavilion inside Cheong Wa Dae on May 12.

Regarding the constitutional reflection of the May 18 Movement ideology, Moon said, “Although the revision bill that I submitted to the National Assembly was scrapped, it contains the spirit of the May 18 Democratization Movement. It is our Constitution where the democracy that we have developed is documented and integrated.”

Only the March 1, 1919, Independence Movement and the April 19, 1960, Student Revolution are inscribed in the Constitution. The president believes the spirit of April 19 is not enough to inherit the ideology of democratization movement due to the full-scale military dictatorship after the April 19 Revolution. 

“The ideology of democratization was again strongly expressed during the Buma Uprising and May 18 Movement, which ultimately culminated in a nationwide protest in June 1987. The unfinished part was again expressed as the Candlelight Revolution, which brought the government of today,” Moon said. 

“It is too early to put the Candlelight Revolution into the preamble of a Constitution due to concern about a political controversy over the contemporary case. However, the ideology of the May 18 Democratization Movement and the June Uprising is one of the ideologies that we should pursue and succeed, and should be inscribed in a new constitution,” he said.  

“If that happens, national unity can be achieved as agreement is reached between the people regarding the nature of the May 18 Movement and the June Uprising. If a constitutional amendment is to be discussed again sometime in the future, such purpose must be revived in the constitution,” he said.

The president also expressed his willingness to respond firmly to attempts to distort and conceal the truth of the May 18 Movement. 

“Respecting the right to freedom of expression is a fundamental right of democracy, however the democracy should not tolerate something that destroys democracy itself,” he said. “There should be firm response towards those that deteriorate and distort the May 18 Movement.”

“A proper fact-finding investigation is one way to eliminate such deterioration and distortion,” he said. 

#Moon Jae-in #May 18 Democratization Movement #Constitution 
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