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Red Cross chief’s business trip during parliamentary inspection

Red Cross chief’s business trip during parliamentary inspection

Posted October. 24, 2014 06:43,   


Controversy is stirred by the Korean Red Cross President Kim Sung-joo who failed to appear to the parliamentary inspection making an excuse of a business trip. Kim headed for China on Tuesday to attend the International Federation of Red Cross Asia Pacific Regional Conference. The high-level meeting of this conference is slated to be held on this coming Saturday. The controversy is getting heated as New Politics Alliance for Democracy (NPAD) Rep. Kim Sung-joo, a person with the same name as the new leader of the aid organization, announced to bring a charge against her to the prosecution in accordance with the "Act on Testimony, Appraisal, etc. Before the National Assembly." If Kim had put a higher priority on the international conference over the National Assembly inspection, she might have a problem in making decision for political affairs. If her business trip was a "hit and run," it is negligence to the National Assembly and the public.

The newly appointed leader Kim, chairwoman of the fashion company Sungjoo Group, made a debut to the political arena as a co-head of the election campaign committee for President Park Geun-hye in 2012. With unconventional style evidenced by her remarks that “I am a leftist conglomerate,” Kim made contribution to improve the high-toned image of then-presidential candidate Park. Considering the fact that former ministers or prime ministers had been named as the president of the Korean Red Cross, President Park’s nominating Kim, a businesswoman, to the position can be interpreted as an appointment in return for the past favors.

Behind the intention of the NPAD to inspect whether the nomination was in return for favors, there is political offense to attack the so-called parachute appointment. Probably there was an intention to put Kim to humiliation as the party did to Johnny Yune, an auditor of the Korean Tourism Organization. Even though, it is quite regrettable that Kim never appeared to the parliamentary inspection. First of all, it is questionable whether the international conference was more important schedule than the National Assembly inspection. If the conference was of such importance, Kim should have explained and asked for understanding to members of the parliamentary committee on health and welfare. But Kim went on the business trip after just sending a statement of reasons for non-appearance, as if she hit and run.

Belatedly on Wednesday, Kim sent a text message to the lawmakers, saying, “Please understand (my non-appearance) as it is a very critical Red Cross General Assembly to be held once in four years, which is related to the future inter-Korean relations.” Still, her attitude is seen arrogant. Kim has a duty to attend the parliamentary inspection, not as an ordinary witness but as a witness of the inspected organization. Kim also has a duty to give sincere answers at the National Assembly to the question why she failed to pay Red Cross membership fees for the past five years.

A newly appointed president’s asking to adjust the parliamentary inspection schedule according to her own schedule is a behavior to neglect the National Assembly. Kim’s behavior can become an eyesore, as it can be suspected that the businesswoman Kim doesn’t have a mindset as a public figure or Kim behaves arrogantly depending on trust of President Park. She must refrain careless behaviors not to put the humanitarian aid organization into a political controversy.