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Rep. Choi Moon-soon

Posted June. 28, 2010 11:50,   


When Rep. Choi Moon-soon of the main opposition Democratic Party applied for a nomination for a proportional representation seat ahead of the 2008 general elections, his rationale was to “maintain independence of the media and provide a line of defense.” After heading straight into politics just 20 days after quitting as president of the broadcast network MBC, the network’s union criticized his move by saying, “The ink on his retirement speech is still wet. We are simply outraged.” Given his experience as the chairman of the MBC union’s committee and surprising promotion as MBC president by the previous Roh Moo-hyun administration, his entry into politics grew into an interesting and controversial topic.

On the Defense Ministry’s sending of a 251-page report on the Cheonan sinking to the U.S. Embassy in Seoul June 14, Choi raised doubts over how it was sent on his blog Friday, saying, “The Defense Ministry secretly submitted the report to the U.S. while excluding the public.” A diplomatic source said in response, “It goes against common sense to unveil dialogue that took place on the condition of confidentiality with the counterpart. The Defense Ministry will soon announce the final report on the Cheonan incident in 250 pages. It asked for confidentiality on the draft sent to the U.S. Embassy to make adjustments before making it public. That can hardly be seen as an attempt to conceal.”

Choi also spoke of his June 17 dialogue with Russian Ambassador to Seoul Konstantin Vnukov. While quoting Choi, one media report said, “Russia concluded that the Cheonan incident was caused by an internal explosion.” The Russian Embassy in Seoul immediately denied the report and demanded an apology, saying, “We are outraged by such blatant lies.” Choi met the families of the Cheonan victims at the end of last month ahead of the June 2 local elections. He also raised rumors online such as the Cheonan being stranded before it sank. Instead of gaining the support of the victims’ families as he intended, he reportedly had to listen to them denouncing each absurd rumor over the incident.

The lawmaker said on the radio June 16, “The possibility of North Korea attacking the Cheonan with a torpedo is as low as sinking five consecutive holes-in-one in golf.” Choi seems to be making every effort to deny the outcome of the public-private investigation team’s research, whose objectivity has been recognized by experts abroad. Lawmakers and reporters must make decisions based on facts, evidence and rationality instead of on wishful thinking. This is why Choi’s recent behavior is untrustworthy.

Editorial Writer Park Seong-won (swpark@donga.com)