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Minister nominee’s child with dual citizenship

Posted May. 22, 2017 07:22,   

Updated May. 22, 2017 07:28


Kyonggi University Professor Nam Ju-hong who failed to pass the confirmation hearing due to dual citizenship of his children crossed my mind. He could become the first minister of Unification of the Lee Myung-bak administration in 2008. However, Mr. Nam’s wife and son were U.S. green-card holders, and his daughter had a U.S. citizenship. The real-estate speculation of his wife was another reason of his fall. Chin Dae-je, who had been called as Mr. Chip, became the first minister of Information and Communication under the Roh Moo-hyun administration in 2003. He was a U.S. citizen and his son, a dual citizenship holder, gave up the Korean nationality after being exempted from military service. Two years later, confirmation hearing of new ministers was introduced.

A dual citizenship naturally leads to maternity trips and evasion of military service. The most preferred destination for maternity trips is the U.S. such as Guam, Saipan, Hawaii and Los Angeles. I once heard a story of pregnant woman who gave birth had a cesarean delivery at a certain time for a good fate of the baby, not to mention maternity trip. It is understandable that the mother wanted to give her child a citizenship of the world’s most powerful country according to the territorial principle as well as the energy of the universe but it feels bitter.

The presidential office Cheong Wa Dae announced that the eldest daughter of Foreign Minister-nominee Kang Kyung-hwa gave up the Korean nationality and became a U.S. citizen and she made a false resident registration while staying in Korea in advance. It appears that the nominee had a preventive injection against the confirmation hearing. It is said that her eldest daughter promised to acquire Korean citizenship again. However, I wonder if high level diplomates, who failed to be mission chiefs in the Park Geun-hye administration for their children's dual citizenship, will readily accept this.

In the first half of 2015, sons of 26 level four or higher officials who were exempted from military service amounted to 26 among 30. They avoided the military service by obtaining a foreign citizenship or by giving up the Korean nationality while maintaining dual citizenship. In the 21st century with infinite competition, we should not hesitate to hire a talent whose child has dual citizenship for the survival of Korea. Given that we are confronting the North, however, government officials should be judged separately from their capability if they are mere parents whose children maintain dual citizenship to exempt them from military service.