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Foreign Minister in Hot Water Over Daughter`s Appointment

Foreign Minister in Hot Water Over Daughter`s Appointment

Posted September. 04, 2010 11:59,   


Another personnel mishap has hit the Lee Myung-bak administration, which has pledged to pursue a "fair society" in the second half of its term.

The Foreign Affairs and Trade Ministry hired the daughter of Foreign Minister Yu Myung-hwan as a Grade 5 public official dealing with free trade agreements.

The ruling camp is in deep trouble in the wake of three Cabinet nominees withdrawing from consideration for their posts Sunday over ethics violations. Countermeasures under consideration include firing Yu.

President Lee demanded Friday a thorough investigation into the matter after being briefed on the situation by his aides, a high-ranking presidential official said.

Especially upset over the situation, the president said, “A minister should be more coolheaded and stringent than anyone.”

He reportedly showed his displeasure over the fiasco Thursday night, saying, “Such an incident shouldn’t have happened in this unfavorable atmosphere.”

The Public Administration and Security Ministry began an audit on the recruitment of Yu’s daughter.

The main opposition Democratic Party urged Yu to resign and prosecutors to investigate the matter.

Democratic Party floor leader Park Jie-won told an emergency countermeasures committee meeting, “Is this a fair society? We cannot help but feel angry,” adding, “We urge President Lee to explain what he thinks a fair society is.”

The ruling Grand National Party also blasted Yu but party chairman Ahn Sang-soo told The Dong-A Ilbo over the phone, “(Yu) is in charge of preparation for the G20 summit so appropriate steps should be taken after the summit.”

Separately, Yu told reporters, “I regret overlooking the fact that suspicion of preferential treatment could arise should a daughter be hired by an organization her father heads,” adding, “Under the judgment that working with her father is inappropriate, my daughter said she will retract her application for the job.”

yongari@donga.com kimkihy@donga.com