Minjoo chief apologizes for attempt to visit ex-president [2016/09/28 15:55]

The main opposition party leader on Friday apologized over her earlier attempts to meet with former president Chun Doo-hwan, a move which caused divides within the party leadership.

The Minjoo Party of Korea`s chairwoman Rep. Choo Mi-ae said that her decision to visit the disputed former president was “inappropriate,” highlighting that Chun has yet to admit his involvement with the massacre during the Gwangju May 18 democratization uprising back in 1980. The meeting, if not cancelled, would have taken place on Sep. 12.

“My purpose was to embrace various (political) spectra but I agree that the party and the people were right (in opposing the visit),” she said at the party‘s Supreme Council meeting.

She also added that “bitter self-reflection upon the past dictatorship and massacre should take precedence over tolerance and unity,“ suggesting that her move to reach out to Chun had been rash.

Since being elected as party leader on Aug. 27, the fifth-term lawmaker has been paying tribute to late presidents Syngman Rhee and Park Chung-hee, in an apparent move to win over the support of the conservative public. Both former presidents are largely denounced by liberals over their suppression against democratic movements.

Choo claimed that her plans included asking Chun to visit the May 18 National Cemetery and pay tribute to the victims for whose deaths he is held accountable.

But the plan was thwarted by resistance within the party. On Thursday, the party`s Supreme Council unanimously vetoed the controversial meeting, while rank-and-file members also exerted pressure upon the leadership to withdraw the plan.

Some party members accused the new leader of lacking coordination with the leadership in advance and using the event to promote her political profile. “There is concern that Choo is trying to play politics in her own interest,” a ranking party member said on the condition of anonymity.
출처: 헤럴드미디어 영자신문 코리아헤럴드 (www.koreaherald.com)