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Deputy Prime Minister Lee Ki-jun’s Eldest Son Suspected of Unlawful Admission to Yonsei Univ.

Deputy Prime Minister Lee Ki-jun’s Eldest Son Suspected of Unlawful Admission to Yonsei Univ.

Posted January. 07, 2005 22:54,   


Suspicions are being raised that Lee Dong-ju (38), the eldest son of the newly appointed Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Human Resources Development Lee Ki-jun, was admitted to Yonsei University through illicit means.

Lee Dong-ju was accepted to the Chemical Engineering department of Yonsei University in 1986 by “special admission,” a separate type of admission granted to foreigners and Korean nationals residing abroad. However, investigation by this newspaper revealed on January 7 that Lee was not eligible for special admission as defined by Yonsei University’s regulations or the education-related ordinances in effect at the time.

Lee Dong-ju was born in 1967 in Seattle, Washington, where Deputy Prime Minister Lee Ki-jun was pursuing his doctorate at the University of Washington. He returned to Korea with his father thereafter, and completed his elementary education at the S elementary school in Seoul in February of 1980. Two years later, he withdrew from H junior high school in Seoul and relocated to the U.S., where he attended W junior high and P high school for a little over a year before returning to Korea once more.

In March 1983, he enrolled in Y high school in Seoul and graduated in February 1986. He was accepted to Yonsei University in March of the same year.

An official in the Yonsei registrar’s office said, “Lee seems to have been accepted according to the regulations guiding applicants who are Korean nationals residing overseas.” But another official stated, “As far as I’m aware, his special admission was granted upon the grounds that he was a foreign national.”

According to article 69, clause 6 of the enforcement ordinance for the Education Law in effect in 1983, as well as article 20 of the Yonsei University regulations, only applicants who have lived abroad for a minimum of two years with their parents are eligible for the special admission for overseas Koreans. As for the special admission for foreign nationals, eligibility is only granted if the applicant and both of his/her parents are foreign nationals that do not hold dual citizenships.

According to Dong-A Ilbo’s verification of the contents of Lee’s school records, he only studied for a year or so in the U.S., and his mother and father both hold Korean citizenships.

His junior high school records state that his entire family moved to the U.S. in December 1981. In fact, Deputy Prime Minister Lee conducted research for roughly two years at the University of Michigan, etc., from September 1981 to August 1983.

Until the 1996 amendment of the educational ordinances allowed individual universities to conduct their own special admissions, a uniform special admissions exam was instituted according to the existing ordinances.

The Dong-A Ilbo investigation team attempted to contact Lee Dong-ju on repeated occasions to verify the above suspicions, but he could not be reached. In a phone conversation with Dong-A Ilbo, the wife of Deputy Prime Minister Lee stated that she had no definite knowledge of the matter and refused to confirm the allegations.

The department chair in office at the time of Lee’s acceptance to the Chemical Engineering department at Yonsei University was current Chief Presidential Secretary Kim Woo-sik, who is known to be a close friend of the deputy prime minister.