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Roh Apologizes for Video Gambling

Posted September. 01, 2006 07:01,   


President Roh Moo-hyun made a public apology to the Korean people for the recent video gambling scandal during a special interview with KBS, Korea’s national broadcasting system for the first time since the scandal broke out. He said, “I would like to ask the Korean people to think that we have a paid hefty tuition fee for the incident and to exercise patience this time and I will come up with strict measures to make sure that these kinds of incidents will never happen again.”

During the interview that aired for an hour from 10:00 p.m. today, President Roh revealed his stance on current critical issues including return of wartime operational control and the free trade agreement (FTA) between Korea and the U.S. Following are excerpts.

Return of wartime operational control-

The most fundamental problem is that the opposition Grand National Party is opposed to it. The GNP should not raise their objection to the plan just to object. Return of wartime operational control was first conceived by the Roh Tae-woo administration, which was based on the GNP. And then his successor, former president Kim Young-sam, came up with plan with a clear goal of returning of wartime operational control by around the year 2000. The GNP initiated and supported the plan at that time, and now it is opposed to that?

Even if wartime operational control is returned to Korea, the ROK-U.S. alliance will not be undermined. Some cite that it would cause the defense budget to increase to 621 trillion won, but that is absurd. Without return of the control, Korea needs that amount of defense budget anyway.

The Korean armed forces were deployed to Vietnam in the 1960s. At that time, the U.S. demanded that Korean forces act under American forces operational orders, but Korea objected to that, and as a result, Korean forces were allocated areas where they fought under their own operational orders.

8.31 real estate comprehensive policy-

The policy will succeed without fail. If there are still people to invest in real estate market with speculative minds, I would like to say to them forget it early. Real estate speculation will fail and there is no doubt about it.

Summit between Korea and the U.S.-

People have said that relations between the two countries are problematic. However, whenever I have met with U.S. President George. W. Bush in person, I found out there was no problem at all. The recent North Korean nuclear issue is not something to be solved easily, but I believe whenever there is disagreement, we can always iron out the differences through coordination.

National administration in the later days of his presidential term-

I have no regrets for the past 3 years. I think that the president should never regret. I had had very difficult times and I still do. When I look back and try to find out what makes me so difficult, I think that’s because I have started too many works. The latest work I started recently is the Korea-U.S. FTA.

Korea-U.S. FTA-

I wish the Korean people not to doubt my good intentions. I am feeling very disappointed to people who are thinking that I am pursuing the Korea-U.S. FTA with some political motive in mind.

Without engaging in competition, we cannot be the best. The United States is the world’s largest market. That is where Korea should bet its success. If Japan had negotiated with the U.S. for FTA ahead of us, the Korean people would have been up and arms and said, “What is President Roh doing now?” If China had tried to sign an FTA with the U.S. before Korea, I would have been under severe criticism of not doing my job properly.”