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Gyeonggi Gov. Lee earns power and support day after day

Posted May. 22, 2021 07:25,   

Updated May. 22, 2021 07:25


Gyeonggi Gov. Lee Jae-myung and former ruling Democratic Party leader Lee Hae-chan made a rare joint appearance at the 2021 DMZ Forum held at KINTEX, Goyang City, Gyeonggi Province, on Friday. It was the first time for the former DP chairman to join an official event along with Gov. Lee since he endorsed the governor behind the scenes. Public attention was attracted by a lineup of not only pro-Roh Moo-hyun political leaders including former Prime Minister Han Myeong-sook but also former and incumbent diplomatic and national security figures who support former President Roh and incumbent President Moon Jae-in.


Gyeonggi Province has since 2019 been home to the DMZ Forum on a yearly basis. This year’s event was jointly held for the first time by the provincial government and the Northeast Asia Peace Economic Association where former DP Chairman Lee serves as chief director. “I’d like to thank Governor Lee for helping organize the forum in cooperation with the Northeast Asia Peace Economic Association and addressing a keynote speech today,” Lee Hae-chan said in a keynote speech. “Gyeonggi Province shows how determined and capable it is of contributing to peace-making even as a municipality.” Han Myeong-sook remarked in a congratulatory speech that the co-hosting of the two organizations makes this year’s event all the more meaningful.

Gov. Lee has been said to have a weak basis of intra-party support. However, he is garnering a wide range of support across pro-Roh and pro-Moon figures under the auspices of the former leader Lee Hae-chan. “This event may make sure that supporters of Mr. Lee Hae-chan change to aggressively endorse the governor,” said an insider of the ruling party.  

The forum was attended by former Unification Minister Lim Dong-won, National Unification Advisory Council’s Chief Vice President Jeong Se-hyun, current Unification Minister Lee In-young and so on. Gyeonggi Province Global Peace Exchange Committee Chairman Moon Jung-in, who is former presidential advisor for unification, foreign affairs and security, and former Unification Minister Lee Jong-seok joined the event as part of a special session’s panel.

Gov. Lee commented in a keynote speech that balloon propaganda campaigns by anti-North Korean activists constitute a criminal act, saying, “If acts out of a kind of freedom threaten a greater level of freedom and human rights, they are supposed to be strictly banned.” He went to say that the resumption of Kaesong Industrial Complex holds great significance as it can help lessen inter-Korean tensions and boost exchange and communication between the two Koreas. “I hope to see the complex in Kaesong go back to normal as stipulated by the 2013 South-North Korean Agreement,” Gov. Lee said.

Min-Woo Park minwoo@donga.com