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[Editorial] Purpose of President`s Press Conference: Explanation or Appeal

[Editorial] Purpose of President`s Press Conference: Explanation or Appeal

Posted May. 28, 2003 21:30,   


President Roh Moo-hyun Wednesday held a press conference to clarify his position on allegations involving his brother. It seems that the President called the press conference to appeal to the nation rather than to offer his explanation on the issue. It is understandable that numerous suspicions can`t be solved by short answers during a conference. But like the President, most Koreans want to avoid wasteful arguments, which lead to exhaustion of national resources and time. However, what matters is what approach should be taken to deal with the issue.

The President said that criticism against him and his family members is much too severe. And the pubic should understand that he and his family members` private lives should be respected. However, most Koreans, who have witnessed successive governments` presidents and relatives were involved in various forms of irregularities and corruption scandals, regarding the President and his family members as “quasi-public figures”. Although the President said that he did nothing wrong, public attention is mostly being paid to the ethical aspects of the matter. Therefore, to judge whether he did something wrong should come after the suspicions are completely cleared up.

To make the President`s appeal to the nation persuasive, public suspicions should be cleared up first. However, although the President held a press conference to deal with suspicions about assets owned by his brother and himself, doubts still remain. It is questionable how many people will still believe in him, as he apologized for the controversies but said he did nothing wrong. The President left numerous questions unanswered. If the mineral water company and distribution company were his, what became of the money from Nara Investment Bank that Ahn Hee-jung claimed was invested in the companies? Whose money was his brother, Roh Geon-pyeong, using for real estate deals? What was the “goodwill” that compelled the businessman to buy his brother`s land? How was the chairman of his sponsor group able to cough up almost 2 billion won, without any adverse effects? In addition, another question is whether the public should regard financial transactions among politicians with enormous influence with those of ordinary citizens.

At this moment, the President, who already held a press conference to address those suspicions involving him and his brother, should make sincere efforts to clear up all public suspicions through an investigation. To stop wasteful arguments (as he put it) as soon as possible, the president should first do the right thing himself.