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Pres. Yoon distances himself from summoned opposition leader

Pres. Yoon distances himself from summoned opposition leader

Posted September. 03, 2022 07:42,   

Updated September. 03, 2022 07:42


When asked to comment regarding main opposition Democratic Party leader Lee Jae-myung who has been summoned by prosecutors, President Yoon Suk-yeol avoided giving a direct answer Friday, saying, “As president, my priorities at present are the economy and people’s livelihoods.” The presidential office also remains tightlipped about the issue surrounding Lee.

Upon arrival at the presidential office in Yongsan in the morning Friday, President Yoon was asked by a reporter, ‘What was his take on Lee who has been summoned by public prosecutors.’ “As for criminal cases, I also come to learn through the media just like you, and I don’t have time to thoroughly read news report,” Yoon bluntly said.

Analysts say Yoon’s response apparently reflects his intention not to be manipulated by the framing of ‘investigation (of Lee) at the president’s order,’ claimed by the main opposition Democratic Party. As senior prosecutors, who were strongly connected with Yoon when the president was serving as prosecutor general, are spearheading the investigation and administration of judicial affairs, President Yoon tries not to be unnecessarily ensnared in the controversy surrounding the case. “The presidential office is not in a position to answer questions regarding the situation surrounding prosecutorial investigations,” a staff at the presidential office said on Thursday.

As confrontation between the ruling and main opposition parties over the prosecutorial investigation of Lee Jae-myung intensifies, watchers say a proposed meeting between the president and the opposition leader Lee will more likely be postponed inevitably. While talking with Lee over the phone to congratulate him on his inauguration as the opposition leader on Tuesday, Yoon said, “I will arrange a good occasion and invite you sooner rather than later.” However, both the presidential office and the main opposition party are avoiding making comments on a meeting between Yoon and Lee due to the prosecutorial investigation of the latter. “Having a meeting in this circumstance would add burden to both Yoon and Lee,” a ruling party official said. “Considering internal feud within the People Power Party has yet to be completely resolved, a meeting between the president and the leaderships of the ruling and opposition parties can be delayed further.”

Kwan-Seok Jang jks@donga.com