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Lee and Park Camps at Odds Over Canal Report

Posted June. 26, 2007 03:16,   


Lee Myung-bak, former Seoul mayor, and Park Geun-hye, former chairwoman of the Grand National Party (GNP), continued their war of words on June 25 regarding the fabrication of the grand canal project report, and who ultimately was behind its leakage.

Lee’s camp put pressure on both the government and Park. Lee Jae-oh, a high commissioner and key aide to Lee Myung-bak, said in a meeting of high commissioners on the same day, “We are aware that Cheong Wa Dae is providing the direction and depth of the investigation after taking the case to the Gyeonggi Provincial Police Agency. Who will believe the result of police investigation? The case should be taken to the Supreme Prosecutors` Office.”

Jang Gwang-geun, the camp’s spokesperson, said, “We need to dispel suspicions about 1) why four versions of the reports were made, 2) why the Gyeonggi Provincial Police Agency is directing the investigation, 3) Why the Seoul Development Institute was seized and searched, and 4) Whether certain camps are involved in the revealing of the reports.”

Park Hyeong-jun, a camp spokesperson, said, “Park said that she had heard the reports on the grand canal from an outside advisory member. We need to find out who he is.” He suggested the possibility that Kim, a representative of a marriage brokerage company who the police think leaked the report, is linked to Park’s camp.

Jeong Du-eon, Lee’s aide who suggested that someone is behind the revelation of the report, said in a press release, “I never mentioned the first name of the lawmaker, Yoo Seung-min, but Yoo imparted false information, saying, ‘Jeong pointed me out.’ This is defamation and behavior that divides the party.” He submitted a request for disciplinary punishment for Yoo.

In response, Rep. Yoo Seung-min, Park’s aide, said, “Whenever Lee Myung-bak and his camp open their mouths, they tell lies. When I see them stubbornly persist even after their statements were proven to be lies, I worry whether they can really run and administer this country.” He went on to say, “If Jeong doesn’t apologize, I will once again call for the party to mete out heavy punishments for him.”

Lee Hye-hun, Park’s spokesperson, pressed him hard, arguing, “The investigation found that Park’s camp has nothing to do with the revelation of the report. Still, Jeong skewed the main point of the report and is giving laughable statements like, ‘This person is close to her, so that person is behind the revelation of the report’”. She added, “Jeong should present the basis of his argument and disclose the name of the person in question. If Lee does not punish his aides, he cannot avoid being criticized as being the ‘leader of profiteers.’”

At a press conference, Spokesperson Lee Hye-hun said, “According to a report from an Internet media outlet, there is evidence that the ‘World Full of Hope 21 Mountain Climbing Group,’ which sponsors Lee, was involved in flurry of illegal activities.” She argued, “Considering cases of punishment on private organizations, there is a strong possibility that people will question whether Lee is still a qualified candidate.”

Both sides are clashing again over the drinking water issues caused by the grand canal.

Kim Jae-won, a spokesperson from Park’s camp, suggested an open forum might clear the air, saying, “Lee’s camp is repeatedly saying filtered water from the river can be used as drinking water. But then we might have to raise the price of running water ten times what it is now.”

In response, Park Seung-hwan, head of the grand canal committee for the Korean peninsula of Lee’s camp, refuted this, saying, “They are misleading the public with baseless lies. The water price will not increase because the production cost of filtering water will drop significantly.”

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