National Assembly of South Korea opened the way for possible arrest on Wednesday of a member of the left front of the unusual charge that he conspired to overthrow the country's democratically elected government if war broke out with North Korea.
At the heart of the " rebellion left" is Lee Seok- ki , a member of parliament for the first time , a small leftist party that has long been accused of views pro - North Korea.
The assembly overwhelmingly approved Wednesday a proposal to lift the immunity from arrest Lee . A district court will now determine whether to issue an arrest warrant . It is considered the first time , the Assembly adopted a motion so on charges of rebellion.
The spy agency of South Korea Lee accused of running a secret meeting in May 130 members of the United Progressive Party to attack the infrastructure if the threats duel between the two Koreas last spring led to war . Lee was sentenced in 2003 to 2 1/ 2 years in prison for a role in a pro - North Korea, but later pardoned.
It was huge local media interest in the story , revealing a bitter political divide remains - between left and right that has its roots in the struggle against colonial rule in Korea and Japan 1910-1945 Peninsula Division in the United States and halves supported by the Soviets after World War II . It also raises real fears among some here that despite the economy of South Korea's central and hard-won democracy , secret groups working to restore autocratic government control of North Korea in the Korean peninsula.
" If 130 people are making determined efforts to destroy major facilities could wreak havoc on South Korean society and its economy," Korea Herald newspaper wrote in an editorial on Wednesday . "In addition , there may be other secret organizations , yet unidentified under the control of Lee. "
Critics, however, see the charges as an attempt to divert attention from the intense criticism of the spy agency faces over alleged defamation campaign during last year's presidential elections . They note that military dictatorships have used the spy agency and accused of insurrection to suppress political dissent until democracy was installed in the 1980s . The conspirators , according to them, had little realistic plans to save his talk of insurrection , to discuss the place of the most effective ways for air pistols and search websites to find ways to build bombs.
" These are the same charges of rebellion that dictators are used to destroy their political opponents and trample democracy ," Lee said in a speech to the earth before the vote . " They are now for the neck. "
Only a small fraction of the Koreans is now estimated to support North Korea in defiance of the international community for its weapons programs , while struggling to feed most of its 24 million people.
Lee had held its meeting in May , due to the belief that the announcement that North Korea had canceled the fragile armistice that ended the Korean War of 1950-1953 indicates the possibility of an imminent war.
Tensions were exceptionally high during the spring . Seoul had sworn revenge against any attack by the North , which had threatened to Seoul and Washington with nuclear and missile attacks , and the United States took the unusual step of sending nuclear capable bombers in military exercises with South Korea in a sample of his desire to protect his ally. The animosity has moderated since then, and the two Koreas are in talks to boost cooperation projects down.
Last week , officials of the intelligence agency arrested three members of the UPP and raided the offices and homes of others for plotting insurrection during the May meeting.
Lee and other members of the party say that government accusations are fabricated and distorted to deflect criticism of the revelations of espionage agents largely shown on the Internet to help the candidate of the ruling Conservative win presidential elections in December. The candidate , Park Geun - hye , finally defeated by a million voices his main rival liberal, Moon Jae -in , who was supported by the PPU.