Go to contents

[Editorial] Prime Minister Lee

Posted March. 06, 2006 03:01,   


Prime Minister Lee Hae-chan said yesterday, “I will discuss my future course of action with the president after he returns from his visit to Africa.”

His remark comes in the wake of the uproar over his golf outing with known criminals on the first day of the railway strike, coinciding with Independence Movement Day, and may be a hint of his impending resignation.

Lee also apologized, saying, “I would like to offer my apologies to the Korean people for my inconsiderate actions.”

Lee’s golf incident was inappropriate regardless of whom he was with. No matter how advanced communications technology is, strolling around a golf course is no substitute for being on the spot, assessing the rail strike situation, and taking appropriate action.

This is not his first offense. After a fire broke out on Arbor Day last year, Lee, who played golf as Naksan Temple burned, stood before the National Assembly and promised, “I will make sure this doesn’t happen again.” But three months later, when southern Korea was inundated with intense rain, Lee was again found on a golf course.

Korean taxpayers should not let Lee, who puts private matters before public ones, get away with it this time.

In addition, the people who played golf with the prime minister last week included people charged with criminal offenses for providing illegal funds to individuals close to President Roh Moo-hyun. This incident has not been clarified. On March 2, the day after the golf incident, some of those same players were fined by the Fair Trade Commission. The situation warrants suspicion.

As a country with an economy ranked 11th worldwide, we wonder why our prime minister is not acting accordingly. A prime minister such as Lee is an embarrassment.

President Roh Moo-hyun is largely responsible for this situation. Whenever he is confronted with a personnel problem, he exacerbates the situation by adopting a “buddy” approach instead. The minister of education took this a disturbing step further by saying, “So it is all right to go mountain climbing but not to play golf?”

There is no reason why Korea should have to suffer such an egoistic and belligerent prime minister. The new prime minister should be fearful of the public and lean forward to listen to the wishes of Korean citizens. We have had enough. The nation and its citizens deserve a prime minister that meets our expectations.