Go to contents

Official Who Defended US Beef Imports Makes Comeback

Posted October. 27, 2010 11:20,   


A former high-ranking agriculture official who was maligned for allowing the resumption of U.S. beef imports in 2008 was appointed vice foreign affairs and trade minister Tuesday.

Min Dong-seok was at the center of public criticism two years ago since he led negotiations with the U.S. on resuming U.S. beef imports in Korea.

“Probably nobody received more malicious comments on the Web than I did,” he told The Dong-A Ilbo.

Recalling media criticism and threats from violent protesters he received, Min said, “I was in despair at the time but was more concerned about the country’s future because the whole nation was in chaos.”

He tried to let the people know the truth behind the bilateral negotiation process on the resumption of U.S. beef imports and mad cow disease, but the public turned a deaf ear to him.

“The resumption of U.S. beef imports and the ensuing controversy were a pretense to undermine the newly inaugurated administration,” Min said. “The fact that nobody got infected with mad cow disease after eating U.S. beef confirmed that the mad cow disease controversy was used to politically attack the government.”

On the reason for appointing Min, a key official at the presidential office said, “Min is a man who acts according to his conviction. Though suffering many difficulties and disadvantages, he has stuck to his stance,” adding, “The appointment was made partly due to President Lee Myung-bak’s special consideration for those who are firm in their beliefs.”

Min said, “I consider the appointment a message to public officials to sincerely serve the nation,” adding, “I also believe that my appointment sends a signal to public officials not to seek self-protection when the country is at risk.”

spear@donga.com yongari@donga.com