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Portrait of Ex-Pres. Disappears from Party Building

Posted March. 19, 2010 08:24,   


A portrait of the late former President Kim Dae-jung disappeared yesterday from a conference room of the main opposition Democratic Party’s building in central Seoul.

The party’s floor leader Lee Kang-rae held a meeting of party lawmakers on the incident, saying, “It is possible that a person with ill intent stole the portraits, but I think a die-hard supporter of (Kim) took it.”

“After conducting an internal investigation, I will decide whether to report the matter to police.”

Former party members criticized party chairman Chung Sye-kyun, however, with one saying, “This is a symbolic incident caused by the party’s failure to live up to the spirit of the former president.”

Han Kwang-ok, former leader of the now-defunct New Millennium Democratic Party, the predecessor of the Democratic Party, said, “The disappearance of the portrait of Kim Dae-jung, the most important figure of the Democratic Party, is a serious incident,” adding, “Chairman Chung should get to the bottom of this in a responsible manner.”

Former lawmaker Chang Sung-min said, “Chung should clarify whether he was behind the incident or, if the portrait was lost, how and when he was informed of the incident.”

Another former legislator said, “I understand that the portrait disappeared two weeks ago,” adding, “Influential party members who used to belong to the former Uri Party might have manipulated the incident to dent the image of the former president.”

Choi Kyeong-hwan, who served as secretary to Kim, said, “This is embarrassing,” adding, “If the party had asked us to send another portrait right after the incident happened, we would’ve done so.”

To this, a key party member said, “Portraits of former presidents are hung at the party office in Yeouido (a district in western Seoul) and at the National Assembly without problem,” adding, “It was simply missing.”