The development may come as a surprise to some members of the South
Korean public who may have expected an easing of restrictions against
pro-Pyongyang statements, amid an unprecedented détente involving North
Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korea’s top officials.
Jeong made the statements that ran afoul of South Korean law in 2011 and 2012.The blog posts, 54 in total, were uploaded across a span of two
years. They praised and promoted the “superiority” of the North Korean
political system, according to Yonhap.
Jeong, who received his sentence at Gwangju District Court, said not
only should the National Security Law be abolished, but U.S. troops
should also be withdrawn from the peninsula. The defendant said he agreed with North Korea’s official position on
the sinking of the South Korean warship Cheonan, in which 46 South
Korean seamen were killed.
Pyongyang has previously said it was not involved in the attack, but
Seoul has said there is evidence of direct North Korea involvement.
Kim Ho-seok, the South Korean judge in Gwangju District Court who
presided over the case, said Jeong engaged in acts that pose a threat to
South Korea’s liberal democracy.
“The defendant blindly supported and cooperated with North Korean
allegations and unconditionally blamed the South Korean government, and
in so doing tried to subvert our system of liberal democracy,” Kim said
in his judgment.
But Kim added the verdict also took into consideration ways in which
not all of Jeong’s statements posed a threat to the “fundamental
South Korea’s National Security Law was recently cited in statements
from the main opposition Liberty Korea Party in its criticism of
President Moon Jae-in’s engagement with North Korea. Hong Jun-pyo, the leader of the conservatives, said last week the
decision to send the South Korean delegation to Pyongyang ran afoul of
the law, according to local news service Pressian.