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Ex-Pres. Roh Expected to Remain Silent on Web

Posted May. 07, 2009 08:23,   


Former President Roh Moo-hyun is expected to refrain from expressing his political opinions amid a major transformation on his official homepage (www.knowhow.or.kr).

Dubbed “A World Where People Live,” his personal homepage is now focusing on stories of residents in Bongha village, where Roh lives.

After leaving office, he would communicate with the people by posting his political opinions on his homepage from time to time. He fell silent, however, after his brother Gun-pyeong was indicted for bribery. Then the bribery scandal involving Taekwang Industry CEO Park Yeon-cha broke out on Dec. 4 last year, prompting Roh to post his last message on April 22 this year, “You should abandon me.”

He expressed blunt comments in both official and unofficial settings over his five-year term. While stressing integrity by public officials at a news conference after his election on Dec. 25, 2002, Roh said, “Until now, those who asked for special treatment from government officials have suffered no harm. From now on, if they’re caught doing so, they’ll find both themselves and their families ruined.”

Roh is also good at turning the situation around by diverting attention. In a televised dialogue on March 9, 2003, he told prosecutors who stood up against him, “You yourselves are misbehaving, aren’t you?”

When then Unification Minister Lee Jong-seok was rebuked at the National Assembly for saying the United States has “failed (suffered damage)” on the controversy over which side benefits from North Korea’s missile launch, Roh said in a fit of rage, “Should Korean Cabinet members who talk about the failure of the United States be scolded at the National Assembly?”

Around the midpoint of his term, he was said to be absorbed in “Internet politics.” So much so that rumors spread that Roh was solely working on the Web at night.

On Dec. 4, 2006, he also invited criticism by sending a letter to members of the then ruling Uri Party before going to Indonesia. In the letter, he blasted the opposition for “standing in the way of everything” and the Uri leadership for being “engrossed in the disbanding of the party.”

With his term nearing an end, Roh’s vitriolic comments stirred up harsh criticism from his opponents. At a meeting with members of the Advisory Council on Democratic and Peaceful Unification on Dec. 21, 2006, he ridiculed top military brass over the return of wartime operational command from Washington, saying, “You’re relying only on U.S. support.”

Roh also said he made a mistake in choosing Goh Kun, a leading presidential candidate at that time, as prime minister.

On former Uri leaders Kim Geun-tae and Chung Dong-young, both of whom sought a party split, Roh said, “I embraced them as Lincoln did, but I was only reviled for that.”