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Moon's mother dies from chronic illness at age 92
Posted : 2019-10-29 20:08
Updated : 2019-10-29 20:23
Kang Han-ok, mother of President Moon Jae-in, died Tuesday at the age of 92, Cheong Wa Dae announced.
She died at a hospital in Busan, the president's hometown located some 450 kilometers southeast of Seoul, at 7:06 p.m., it said.
She had reportedly suffered from an illness for a long time and had been in critical condition in recent days.
Moon plans to hold a "calm" family funeral at the wishes of the deceased, according to Cheong Wa Dae spokesperson, Ko Min-jung.
No condolence calls or flowers will be accepted, she added. Ko asked the public to convey mourning messages instead "with their hearts."
The president and first lady Kim Jung-sook were apparently present at the time of her death.
It's the first time in modern South Korean history that a sitting South Korean president's parent has died.
Earlier Tuesday, the president hurriedly visited her at the hospital right after attending a conference of Saemaeul Undong, or new community movement, leaders in Suwon, Gyeonggi Province.
Kang is survived by Moon and another son, as well as three daughters.
She will be laid to rest following a three-day private mourning period, a Cheong Wa Dae official told reporters.
While taking a special leave, the president will receive real-time briefings in case of an emergency in state affairs, the official added. He's expected to return to work later this week.
In his 2011 memoir, titled "The Destiny," Moon gave a detailed account of stories related to his parents, both born in Hungnam, South Hamgyong Province, which is now in North Korea.
His father, Moon Yong-hyong, and mother were refugees who fled the 1950 Chosin Reservoir battle to South Korea aboard the U.S. ship the SS Meredith Victory.
About two years later, Moon was born. In his childhood, the father's business faltered and the mother earned a living through street vending or coal briquette delivery. Moon's father died of heart failure in 1978.
In Seoul, a torture chamber is re-purposed
A secret, backstreet interrogation center ignited a revolution that led to democratization, but soon it will have a new role
By Andrew Salmon
Renditioned in the back of a secret police vehicle and blindfolded, Park Jong-cheol, a 21-year-old university student, would not have seen the barbed-wire topped walls of the black building – innocuously signposted “Marine Research Center” – that loomed ahead.
But he would have heard the sinister clank and clatter as the black iron gate crashed shut behind them.
[Military dictatorships] [Torture]
Unclear how Cho Kuk’s resignation affect Moon’s approval ratings
Posted on : Oct.21,2019 18:03 KST Modified on : Oct.21,2019 18:03 KST
Progressive voters in their 30s seem to hold Moon accountable for Cho’s resignation
South Korean President Moon Jae-in and first lady Kim Jung-sook during a reception for foreign diplomats at the Blue House on Oct. 18.
It’s unclear how exactly the resignation of Justice Minister Cho Kuk has affected public opinion toward the current South Korean administration. An opinion poll published by Gallup Korea on Oct. 18 shows President Moon Jae-in’s job approval rating dropping to 39%, the lowest point since his inauguration. That’s the exact opposite of the rebound reported in a Real Meter poll released the previous day.
In its analysis of the findings, Gallup Korea attributed the decline of four percentage points in Moon’s governance approval rating from the week before to “disappointment with Cho’s resignation among supporters.” Its conclusion was that voters who strongly sympathized with the candlelight demonstrations in public squares calling to “protect” Cho held Moon politically accountable for his eventual resignation. As a basis for its interpretation, Gallup Korea noted large slides in positive ratings of Moon’s job performance among respondents in the Honam region and in their 30s, both segments that showed strong support for keeping Cho in place. In the space of a week, positive ratings fell from 76% to 67% for Honam and from 60% to 46% for people in their 30s.
[Moon Jae-in] [Cho Kuk] [[Public opinion] [Disillusion]
Civic groups hold 10th candlelight rally for prosecutorial reform in front of Ntl. Assembly
Posted on : Oct.21,2019 18:34 KST Modified on : Oct.21,2019 18:34 KST
Demonstrators call on lawmakers to pass legislation for checking prosecutors’ authority
Civic groups hold the 10th candlelight rally for prosecutorial reform in front of the National Assembly in Seoul on Oct. 19. (Kim Jung-hyo, staff photographer)
Five days after Cho Kuk stepped down as Minister of Justice, South Korean citizens demanding prosecutorial reforms gathered with candles once again on Oct. 19 in front of the National Assembly building in Seoul’s Yeouido neighborhood. The demonstrators were unanimous in their message: now is the time for the National Assembly to focus on passing legislation for prosecutorial reforms.
[Prosecutorial reform] [Demonstration]
Increased Welfare Spending to Drive Fiscal Debt Sky-High
By Kim Ji-seop
October 18, 2019 13:23
If the government pushes ahead with its expanded welfare spending plans, Korea's fiscal debt will rise W360 trillion above the government's original target by 2028 (US$1=W1,181).
According to an estimate by the National Assembly Budget Office on Thursday, Korea's fiscal debt will reach W1,491 trillion by 2028, while the government debt ratio will reach 56.7 percent of GDP.
Just last year, the office estimated Korea's fiscal debt at W1,130 trillion by 2028 or 48 percent of GDP. But within less than a year, the projection has risen a whopping 31.9 percent and the government debt ratio 8.7 percentage points.
The new estimates reflect the government's 2019-2023 budget plans, next year's fiscal expenditure plans and recent economic factors.
The government informed the National Assembly last month that it will boost fiscal spending by nine percent next year following a similar increase this year, while raising welfare spending by 8.9 percent on average per year until 2023.
The slow economy has caused tax revenues to decline, while the government wants to spend more on pork-barrel policies.
Cho Dong-geun at Myongji University said, "Welfare policies aimed at winning votes are casting a long shadow over the future of Korea when the economy is already losing steam. The government is committing a serious offense against future generations."
Super ecological environment of DMZ an unexpected “gift” of division
Posted on : Oct.13,2019 14:10 KST Modified on : Oct.13,2019 14:10 KST
Area’s ecosystem and residents under threat by development plans
Geese fly over a barbed-wire fence along the lower Han River in Gimpo, Gyeonggi Province
Cutting across the midsection of the Korean Peninsula, the DMZ is a tragic setting created by war and division – but in natural terms, it is a land of blessings.
While South and North Korea have remained at odds across heavy barbed-wire fences for the 66 years since their division, the national environment, untouched by human hands, has transformed the world’s most forbidding region of heavy militarization into a space of peace and life.
The DMZ’s ecological axis, which stretches for 248km from Paju, Gyeonggi Province, to Goseong, Gangwon Province, is divided into a western section (Paju and Yeoncheon) with broad hills, rivers, farmland, and wetlands; a mountainous east (Hwacheon, Yanggu, Inje, and Goseong); and a central portion (Cheorwon) that serves as an ecological corridor.
Boasting ecosystems that span mountains, wetlands, rivers, and plains, the DMZ is a paradise for flora and fauna: representing just 1.6% of South Korea’s total area, it has 4,873 species (20%) of wildlife, including 91 that are endangered (41%).
The central and western regions in particular, with their richly developed wetlands and farmlands – the Imjin and Sacheon Rivers, Sami Stream, the Hantan River, Yeokgok Stream, and the Cheorwon Plain – have drawn international attention as the most stable habitats for the red-crowned and white-naped cranes, which are protected species internationally.
The heavily forested eastern DMZ area is also home to endangered wildlife including the Asian black bear, long-tailed goral, Siberian musk deer, leopard cat, Eurasian otter, yellow-throated marten, and Siberian flying squirrel.
The superior ecological environment in the DMZ is an unexpected “gift” of division. But with recent signs of reconciliation between South and North, the ecosystem – and the lives of local residents – are under threat amid widespread plans for development, including the withdrawal of the Civilian Control Line (CCL) and building of roads.
Army to curtail troops for combat efficiency
Posted : 2019-10-11 16:55
Updated : 2019-10-11 22:14
Army Chief of Staff Gen. Suh Wook speaks in an opening remark of the National Assembly's annual audit, Friday, at the Gyeryongdae military headquarters in South Chungcheong Province. Yonhap
Army Chief of Staff Gen. Suh Wook speaks in an opening remark of the National Assembly's annual audit, Friday, at the Gyeryongdae military headquarters in South Chungcheong Province. Yonhap
By Lee Min-hyung
The Army plans to curtail the number of troops to around 365,000 by the end of 2022 to enhance combat efficiency and deal with the decreasing population, the land force said Friday in the National Assembly's annual audit.
This is a 10 percent cut from the current number of around 464,000. The Army explained the decision is also part of the military's efforts to maximize operational efficiency by replacing the decreasing number of soldiers with state-of-the-art combat equipment, such as unmanned aerial vehicles and counter-artillery radar.
[ROK military] [Troops] [Technology] [upskilling]
PM highlights inter-Korean dictionary project on Hangeul Day
Posted : 2019-10-09 17:28
Updated : 2019-10-09 18:46
Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon delivers a speech at a ceremony to mark the 573rd anniversary of the promulgation of Hangeul, held at Gwanghwamun Square in central Seoul, Wednesday. Hangeul is the Korean alphabet developed under King Sejong of the 1392-1910 Joseon Kingdom. Yonhap
By Jung Da-min
Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon called for the resumption of a now-halted inter-Korean project to jointly compile a Korean dictionary, during his speech at a ceremony marking the 573rd anniversary of the pomulgation of Hangeul, Wednesday.
"Seventy years of division has even brought a linguistic gap between South and North Korea," Lee said. "The two Koreas agreed on the Gyeoremal-Keunsajeon Joint Compilation in 2005, but it has not seen much progress."
Hangeul is the Korean alphabet which was developed under King Sejong of the 1392-1910 Joseon Kingdom and promulgated in 1446. But the decades of division between the two Koreas has led to a linguistic gap between the two sides.
[Detente] [Joint Korean] [Hangul]
Moon’s approval ratings slip to 44.4%, lowest since inauguration
Posted on : Oct.8,2019 17:47 KST Modified on : Oct.8,2019 17:47 KST
Analysts point to defections by moderates amid intensifying political squabbles
South Korean President Moon Jae-in gives a congratulatory address at the launch ceremony of the National Unification Advisory Council at the Blue House on Sept. 30. (Blue House photo pool)
The job approval rating for South Korean President Moon Jae-in has slipped to 44.4%, the lowest point since his inauguration as president. Support was largely split along ideological lines, with Moon’s approval dropping considerably among moderates.
These results were reported on Oct. 7 by Korean public opinion firm Real Meter, which surveyed 2,007 Korean voters of age 19 or above about Moon’s job performance on behalf of Korean broadcaster YTN. The poll, which was conducted over four days, from Sept. 30 to Oct. 4 (except for Oct. 3, which was a holiday), had a reliability of 95% and a sample error of ±2.2 percentage points.
[Moon Jae-in] [Polls]
19 Held Over N.Korean Crystal Meth
By Lee Dong-hwi
October 08, 2019 13:12
Police have arrested 19 people on charges of selling and using crystal methamphetamine smuggled in from North Korea.
A police spokesman on Monday said, "We arrested 19 people including North Korean defectors on charges of taking and distributing what we suspect is North Korean-made crystal meth, and handed 18 over to prosecutors while four of them are put in remand prison."
"Most of those arrested are either defectors and foreigners," the spokesman added. "We have expanded our investigation due to suspicions that individual [South Korean] citizens or organized group are involved."
All admitted that the crystal meth came from North Korea. "Crystal meth is a synthetic drug and even the National Forensic Service has a difficult time tracking the source, but the suspects' testimonies are identical," the spokesman said.
[Drugs] [Refugee reception] [Defector] [Canard]
S. Korea still preparing for Kim Jong-un's Busan visit in Nov.
Posted : 2019-10-07 16:29
Updated : 2019-10-07 17:36
President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un listen as U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a surprise meeting in Panmunjeom in the inter-Korean border area, June 30. Yonhap
By Lee Min-hyung, Kim Yoo-chul
While North Korea said its working-level nuclear disarmament talks with the United States in Sweden over the weekend failed to meet expectations, the government here is still hoping to invite North Korean leader Kim Jong-un to Busan.
Diplomatic sources told The Korea Times, Monday, that preparatory work was still underway for Kim's possible visit to Busan in November, though the chances of it actually happening are considered low.
"We were hoping for Washington and Pyongyang to see progress in their denuclearization talks as Kim's visit to Busan depends somewhat on the negotiations," an official at Cheong Wa Dae said. The government has yet to send an official invitation to the North, as it is basing this on results from the nuclear dialogue between Washington and Pyongyang.
Tak Hyun-min, President Moon Jae-in's planning advisory committee member, said earlier that the presidential office was preparing for the possible visit. The National Intelligence Service (NIS) also hinted recently that Kim could visit Busan if the nuclear dialogue developed in a positive manner.
[Kim Jong Un] [Pusan] [Detente] [US dominance]
South Korea is back in political turmoil
Author: Hyung-A Kim, ANU
2 October 2019
South Korea’s self-righteous politics is reaching a new level of chaos following President Moon Jae-in’s appointment of the new Justice Minister Cho Kuk. The appointment came in spite of Cho’s wife having been indicted on 6 September 2019 for forging an academic award in her daughter’s medical school application. Cho’s family is also being investigated for dubious investments in a private equity fund.
South Korea's new Justice Minister Cho Kuk attends his inauguration ceremony at the main office of the ministry in Gwacheon, South Korea on September (Photo: Reuters/AFLO).
This political chaos exposes not only Cho and his family’s abuse of their high-profile social status amid the worsening class divisions in today’s South Korean society, but also the self-righteous politics of Moon’s ‘candlelight government’. A survey by pollster Korea Research International reveals that the country is split — 57.1 per cent said Cho’s appointment was wrong while 36.3 per cent approved.
[Cho Kuk] [Reform] [Anti-Moon]
An aide thinks Kim will be at Asean summit
A close associate of President Moon Jae-in said Wednesday that he is preparing for next month’s regional summit in Korea with the presumption North Korean leader Kim Jong-un will be participating.
In an interview with CBS radio, Tak Hyun-min, former presidential aide who oversaw protocols and event planning of the Blue House, discussed his preparations for the upcoming international events scheduled to take place in Busan in November.
The Korea-Asean special summit will take place on Nov. 25 and 26, and the Korea-Mekong summit, involving Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam, will immediately follow the next day.
“I am making preparations for the summits,” Tak said. “I am making preparations for more than just the visit by North Korean leader Kim.”
He said he was being briefed about the possibility of Kim’s visit as he prepared the events.
It is the Moon administration’s official position that there are no ongoing discussions between the two Koreas about Kim’s participation in the summits.
After media speculations were made, Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon made public the position during a National Assembly hearing on Sept. 26.
Moon had earlier expressed his hope for Kim’s visit in an interview with the Bangkok Post on Aug. 30.
“It would be a very meaningful occasion for peace on the Korean Peninsula and in East Asia, if Chairman Kim is given the chance to join the gathering,” Moon said at the time, adding that “Of course, the decision on whether to invite Chairman Kim should be made in light of the progress being made in the peace process on the Korean Peninsula, including the dialogue between the United States and North Korea.”
[ASEAN] [Kim Jong Un]
The Second Candle-Light Revolution in Korea: The People’s Fight for the Survival of Clean Democracy
By Prof. Joseph H. Chung
Global Research, October 02, 2019
The world still remembers the 2017 Candle-Light Revolution in which 17,000,000 Korean people fought peacefully and culturally on the streets, for several months, against the deep-rooted corruption culture developed and enforced under the 60- year conservative government’s rule.
In the evening of September 28 of 2019, 2,000,000 people of all walks of life, all ages and all segments of the society came down to the street and shouted
“We are Moon Jae-in!” The people were crying out that they were with President Moon Jaen-in in the fight for the survival of democracy
“We are Cho Kuk!” “Let us fight for the reform of the corrupted Prosecutor Office!”
The people were shouting that they were with Cho Kuk, the newly appointed Minister of Justice, for the Reform of the Supreme Prosecutors Office (Prosecution)
They have cried out: “Let us reform the rotten media!” The Korean media have shown bluntly how they have been a part of the corruption culture; the people could no longer tolerate it.
The present candle-light demonstration started only a few weeks ago with 2,000, then 100,000 and now as many as 2,000,000.
They were angry; they were very angry; they will do it again next Saturday (October 5) with perhaps 3,000,000 people.
What is going on in the country of morning calm?
It is no longer a country of calm; it may have to go through a long period of fight for the survival of democracy and a cleaner society.
This second candle-light demonstration is, perhaps, a beginning of the final stage of cutting off the deep roots of corruption affecting every corner of the Korean society for last 60 years under the conservative government.
This paper deals with the following.
First, I will trace back the origin and the dreadful evolution of the corruption culture in Korea.
Second, I will discuss how the liberal government of Moon Jae-in has been trying, for last two years, to clean up the corruption culture.
Finally, I will say a few words about the future course of actions Korea should take to be free from the corruption culture.
[Cho Kuk] [Protest] [Legitimacy] [Candlelight Revolution]
Massive rally against justice minister, President rocks Seoul
Posted : 2019-10-03 16:39
Updated : 2019-10-04 10:05
Protesters wave Korean and U.S. flags at Gwanghwamun Square in central Seoul, Thursday, during a massive rally organized by conservative groups to condemn the Moon Jae-in administration and call for Justice Minister Cho Kuk's resignation. / Korea Times photo by Choi Won-suk
Conservative groups mobilize elders against Moon administration
By Lee Suh-yoon
Hundreds of thousands of mostly elderly citizens gathered in Gwanghwamun Square and streets near City Hall and Seoul Station, Thursday, to vent their discontent at the Moon Jae-in administration, calling on Justice Minister Cho Kuk to resign over corruption allegations leveled against him and his family.
Conservative civic groups and political parties ― including the main opposition Liberty Korea Party (LKP) and minor ultra-rightist Our Republican Party ― set up side-by-side rallies along Sejong Street. The protesters waving Korean and American flags marched from Seoul Station to Gwanghwamun Square blocking traffic at certain locations.
The huge turnout ― on a national holiday ― was sparked partly by a rally in southern Seoul last Saturday, where more than 1 million people, according to the organizers, condemned the prosecution for its "politically charged" investigation of Cho's family.
[Anti-Moon] [Cho Kuk] [Demonstration] [Demographics] [Conservatives]
Parties clash over 'optimism' in North Korea-US talks
Posted : 2019-10-04 17:12
Updated : 2019-10-04 18:52
Members of the North Korean delegation arrive to Arlanda airport north of Stockholm, Friday (KST). Working-level nuclear negotiations are expected to resume between the U.S. and North Korea. AFP-Yonhap
By Kim Yoo-chul, Park Ji-won
Korea's political parties clashed (KST) in New York, Friday, over the prospects for the planned working-level denuclearization talks between the United States and North Korea during a National Assembly audit of the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Korea to the United Nations, being held there.
The audit came a few hours after a North Korean delegation arrived in Stockholm, Sweden, Oct. 4, for the talks with the U.S., after months of deadlock and increased tensions mostly due to a series of missile tests by Pyongyang.
During the audit, lawmakers of the ruling Democratic Party of Korea (DPK) remained optimistic over the talks, urging Washington to ease sanctions. The opposition parties, however, expressed concern about the recent missile launches, saying they underscored the need for the U.S. to move quickly to negotiate limits to the North's growing arsenal.
"Because both the United States and North Korea will pursue a new method at the talks, expectations are that they will bring about a visible outcome. A complete closure of the Yongbyon nuclear complex in North Korea would be good enough from our perspective," said Rep. Lee Seok-hyun of the DPK.
Rep. Choo Mi-ae, also of the DPK, said she believed Washington and Pyongyang acknowledged that maintaining sanctions wasn't preferred in terms of breaking the impasse. "Sanctions can create a humanitarian crisis in North Korea," she said.
But Rep. Chung Jin-suk of the main opposition Liberty Korea Party (LKP) said South Korea should speak up at the United Nations over the North's recent test of a submarine-launched ballistic missile because this violated the international body's sanctions.
"I hope the upcoming working-level talks between the United States and North Korea produce good results, but South Korea is advised to prepare a plan B to deal with a failure of the talks in Stockholm," the LKP's Rep. Won Yoo-chul said.
How to define denuclearization and whether North Korea accepts the United States' "unofficial" offer for a partial easing of economic sanctions will be the main talking points between the nuclear negotiators in Stockholm.
North Korea's concept of denuclearization, made clear through years of failed discussions with the international community, "bears no resemblance to the U.S.' definition," according to an anonymous diplomatic source. Pyongyang prefers to launch lengthy, complicated negotiations to get agreement on phased actions each party must take. The United States, on the other hand, wants the North to present a detailed denuclearization plan including a roadmap to completely freeze production of fissile material for use in nuclear weapons.
Diplomatic sources here said North Korea is expected to seek a formal declaration ending the Korean War to replace the 1953 armistice, and the opening of liaison offices in Washington and Pyongyang.
[US NK Negotiations] [Stockholm1910] [SK]
S. Korea spends least on social welfare among OECD nations, only 11.1% of GDP
Posted on : Oct.1,2019 16:41 KST Modified on : Oct.1,2019 16:41 KST
Despite improvements in social welfare services under the administration of South Korean President Moon Jae-in, South Korean still ranks the lowest among OECD countries when viewing its social welfare budget compared to GDP. According to data released by the Ministry of Economy and Finance (MOEF), South Korea’s social welfare spending in 2018 amounted to 11.1% of its GDP, placing it 29th (last place) among OECD member nations. The OECD average for social welfare spending amounted to 20.1% of GDP. Although South Korea has steadily increased its social welfare spending throughout the past decade, this latest MOEF data reveals that it still has a long way to go if it’s to match the level of other developed countries. France spent the most on social welfare, 31.2% of its GDP, followed by Belgium (28.9%), Finland (28.7%), Denmark (28%), and Italy (27.9%).
[Welfare state] [Moon Jae-in] [OECD] [Comparison]
Rare photos offer glimpse of Korea in 1910-70s
Posted : 2019-10-02 17:22
Updated : 2019-10-02 17:22
Nurses cuddle quadruplets born in 1959 at Ilsin Christian Hospital in Busan. Courtesy of Pusan National University
By Park Si-soo
Rare photos taken by Australian missionary James Noble Mackenzie and his family offer a glimpse of Busan in the 1910-70s.
An exhibition of the photos is under way at the Pusan National University Museum. The event, "Story of Australian Mackenzie Family's Outing to Busan," runs through Feb. 28, displaying 300 photos out of 10,000 the missionary and his family took in the nation's second-biggest city.
A street market in Busan in the 1950s. Courtesy of Pusan National University
In this undated photo, a senior Korean wearing a traditional outfit and hat teaches the Korean alphabet to Westerners. Courtesy of Pusan National University
In this photo taken in the 1950s, people queue at a market in Bupyeong. Courtesy of Pusan National University
In this undated photo, Mackenzie's two daughters are greeted by Koreans in Busan. They were born in Busan, moved to Australia to become a medical doctor and a nurse, and then returned to Busan for missionary work. Courtesy of Pusan National University
The Korean Peninsula was under Japan's colonial rule 1910-45 and experienced a devastating war in 1950-53. So the photos are considered rare material giving an opportunity to look into a turbulent time in Korea's modern history.
Mackenzie devoted himself to helping the poor and uneducated. He was particularly active in helping people suffering leprosy.
In recognition of his devotion, the South Korean government posthumously awarded him a state medal in 2012.
Mackenzie died in 1956.
[History] [Photos] [Australia]
Nat'l Assembly Condemns N.Korea's Violation of Military Pact
By Yang Seung-sik, Ahn Jun-yong
October 01, 2019 11:02
The National Assembly in a full session on Monday passed a resolution condemning North Korea's recent missile provocations as a violation of the inter-Korean military pact signed in September 2018.
The resolution, which was adopted by agreement between the ruling and opposition parties, calls the North's recent tests of missiles and multiple rocket launchers a direct violation of the spirit of the military pact.
It denounces the North for military provocations aimed at perfecting nuclear weapons and missile technology and developing a submarine capable of carrying ballistic missiles, and urges the regime to stop them immediately.
It also warns that the regime will be isolated internationally unless it conforms to the pact.
The resolution had been proposed by Minjoo Party lawmaker Ahn Gyu-back, the chairman of the National Assembly's Defense Committee, and was passed by the committee in August.
In the full house session, it was passed with a vote of 168:4 with eight abstentions.
Ostensibly, the resolution runs counter to the views of Cheong Wa Dae and the Defense Ministry, which have said that the North's latest tests of ballistic missiles and MRLs were not a violation of the pact because it does not specifically mention them.
[Missile test] [Korean Tragedy] [US dominance]
Remarks by President Moon Jae-in at Ceremony to Launch 19th National Unification Advisory Council
September 30, 2019
Members of the 19th National Unification Advisory Council (NUAC) and distinguished guests, I am pleased to meet you all.
I am truly reassured and relieved to see such Council members at the forefront of opening a path toward peace and unification.
Also joining us today are Council members from 41 other countries who carry the aspiration for peaceful unification shared by the 7.4 million Koreans overseas. Please welcome them wholeheartedly with applause.
It is regrettable that, amid the all-out efforts to prevent an epidemic of African swine fever, we could not have more Council members here. However, the NUAC, which has drawn upon the will for peaceful unification from all corners of the country and from across the globe, still demonstrates as much enthusiasm as before.
[Moon Jae-in] [Unification]
Moon makes strong push for prosecution reform
Posted : 2019-09-30 17:23
Updated : 2019-09-30 22:07
Moon's messages seen as yet another strong warning to prosecution
By Do Je-hae
President Moon Jae-in sent a direct order to Prosecutor-General Yoon Seok-youl, Monday, to come up with measures to increase the public's trust in the prosecution following a street rally in southern Seoul, Saturday, held in support of embattled Justice Minister Cho Kuk's initiative for judicial reform.
This is the second time in four days for Moon to send a strong message to the prosecution, which is carrying out an investigation into corruption allegations involving the former senior presidential aide for civil affairs.
The message delivered Monday through spokeswoman Ko Min-jung carried a sterner tone in that it contained a direct message for the top prosecutor, who was not even present at a briefing given by Cho at Cheong Wa Dae, Monday, on measures to overhaul the prosecution. Once again, Moon stressed the importance of regaining the public's trust.
"I order the prosecutor-general to listen to the voices calling for the prosecution's reform and swiftly present measures for its transformation into an agency that is trusted by the people. For this, the prosecution must collect the opinions of young prosecutors and women prosecutors, as well as those working in the criminal investigation and trial departments."
The message is seen as yet another strong warning to the prosecution, whose thorough investigation regarding Cho has been seen by Cheong Wa Dae as a show of resistance to judicial reform measures being pushed by Moon, including limiting prosecutor's investigative powers. Also, the remarks reflect the President's determination not to back down in the lingering political storm in the aftermath of his controversial appointment of the former law professor to justice minister earlier this month despite the wide-ranging allegations of wrongdoing involving Cho and his family members.
[Cho Kuk] [Moon Jae-in]
Debate arises over Moon's 'socialist' policies
Posted : 2019-09-30 13:52
Updated : 2019-09-30 17:07
Members of the main opposition Liberty Korea Party protest the Moon Jae-in administration in Gwanghwamun, central Seoul, Sept. 21. / Yonhap
By Kim Bo-eun
A debate is arising over the Moon Jae-in administration's economic policies, with some conservatives going as far as calling them "socialist."
The leftist Moon administration's income-led growth policies have prioritized distribution over growth. They have been trying to create more jobs in the public sector with taxes and reducing income inequality among citizens.
However, the business community has accused many of the policies, including the drastic minimum wage hike, as being anti-business. Critics claim that such policies have distorted the labor market, dispiriting enterprises and dampening domestic demand.
[Anti-Moon] [socialism] [Inequality]
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