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President-elect Yoon to visit former President Park Geun-hye

President-elect Yoon to visit former President Park Geun-hye

Posted March. 25, 2022 07:46,   

Updated March. 25, 2022 07:46


South Korean President-elect Yoon Seok-youl said Thursday he would make a visit to former President Park Geun-hye. The ironical history between the two politicians is also holding the spotlight as the president-elect himself was once infamously dubbed as the “downfall of South Korean conservative politics,” and Park used to be the “backbone of the conservative camp.”

In a meeting with reporters on Thursday, President-elect Yoon said he was planning on visiting local provinces from next week and he might visit former President Park Geun-hye as she was recently discharged from hospital. Mr. Yoon expressed his willingness to visit the private residence of Ms. Park’s in Dalseong County of Daegu City during his local tour scheduled for next week. Asked if he would invite Ms. Park to his inauguration ceremony on May 10, Yoon said he would definitely do as it is a traditional protocol for the former presidents.

“We have not received any direct message (from the president-elect),” said Yoo Young-ha, Ms. Park’s personal attorney. “Once they reach us, we will let her (Ms. Park) decide and share it with the press.”

The massive attention to the potential rendezvous of the two political figures is attributable to their twist of fates. In 2013, the inaugural year of the Park Geun-hye administration, President-elect Yoon said he had experienced pressure from above in advancing his investigation into the case of the alleged fabrication of comments by the National Intelligence Services, invariably souring his relationship with the then President Park. Well-known for his remarks – “My loyalty is only for the public service, not for a person,” Yoon continued to hop about from one trivial post to another until 2016 at the end of Ms. Park’s presidential term.

Their fate was crossed again when Mr. Yoon was appointed as the head of the special prosecution into the influence-peddling scandal involving Ms. Park in December 2016. Yoon was also made the first chief of Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office appointed by President Moon Jae-in, spearheading the arrest and charge of the main officials of the Park administration. Some criticized Yoon, labeling him as the downfall of Korea’s conservative camp. “For me, it was a duty as an official in public office, but politically and empathically speaking,” Mr. Yoon said during his election campaign. “I feel very sorry about her.”

Sung-Hwi Kang yolo@donga.com · Kyung-Suk Kang coolup@donga.com