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Destroying His Own Party

Posted October. 29, 2010 11:21,   


Park Jie-won, floor leader of the main opposition Democratic Party, has used a lie to ignite yet another controversy. Just a few days ago, he lied that Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping called the Lee Myung-bak administration an “interrupter of peace on the Korean Peninsula.” Park’s comment on the budget for heating costs at community centers for the elderly has stirred up another debate. In a speech to a negotiating group at the National Assembly Wednesday, he said, “(Because of the four-river restoration project), all financial support for heating costs for community centers for the elderly, which was 300,000 won (266.50 U.S. dollars) per month, was cut.” The ruling Grand National Party denied this, saying, “Don`t mislead the public with a lie.”

This is what the ruling party said: the central government and not municipal or provincial governments were banned from providing heating costs for such centers under the Roh Moo-hyun administration in 2005. The Lee administration, however, provided tens of millions of dollars in funding last year and this year. The budget for the heating costs was not included in next year’s budget not because of the river project but because the parliamentary special committee on budget and accounts decided to allocate heating costs only for this year. That the floor leader of the country`s largest opposition party did not know this is clearly unacceptable.

In July last year, Chun Sung-gwan was disqualified for the post of prosecutor general primarily because he lied about going on a golf trip. Park was the one who exposed the lie and encouraged his aides to prove the suspicion. “Facts are sacred and there is no bigger power than the facts,” he said. He also blasted lies told by candidates for top government positions at public hearings, calling the hearings a “liar’s competition.” Yet when pressed for why he lied about Xi’s comment, however, Park used chop logic like “Don’t look at your finger, look at the moon.”

When Park said last month that he was asked to attend an unofficial public hearing by the ruling party, a spokesman at the presidential office said, “He`s lying too much.” When the suspicion arose that Park wired money to North Korea in 2002, he denied paying even “a single cent” but was later sentenced to prison for illegally wiring 450 million U.S. dollars. Despite this, he said, “I’ve never said anything that wasn’t a fact.” If Park loses the people’s confidence because of his lies, he will be a floor leader that harms his own party.

Editorial Writer Lee Jin-nyong (jinnyong@donga.com)