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Opposition demands oust of safety minister, police chief

Opposition demands oust of safety minister, police chief

Posted November. 03, 2022 07:33,   

Updated November. 03, 2022 07:33


The Democratic Party of Korea demanded that Minister Lee Sang-min of the Interior and Safety and Commissioner General Yoon Hee-gun of the National Police Agency be released and held accountable for the Itaewon accident that killed at least 154 people. The Justice Party also called for an apology from the President on Wednesday, suggesting a heated debate at the National Assembly.

“The existence of a nation is to make people responsible for those who should be responsible,” said Leader Lee Jae-myung of the Democratic party said at the Supreme Committee meeting at the National Assembly, demanding to President Yoon Suk-yeol that Minister Lee and Commissioner General Yoon should be removed from their roles. In a foreign media briefing, Lee also pointed out the joke that Prime Minister Han Duk-soo had made, commenting that he saw “an astoundingly shocking scene. The prime minister, who should focus all efforts on resolving the disaster, makes a joke at a foreign media briefing. Was it a proper occasion to do so?”

The party’s Floor Leader Park Hong-gun also stressed at the supreme committee meeting that “we should thoroughly examine how the national and local governments responded before and after the tragedy and hold those who neglected their duties accountable in legal, administrative, political, and moral terms. Chief Supreme Member Jeong Cheong-rate pointed out that the final person responsible for the disaster is naturally President Yoon. “We want Minister Lee and Police Commissioner Yoon removed from their positions immediately. They should also be dealt with legally,” Jeong said. Supreme Member Jang Kyeong-tae criticized Seoul Mayor Oh Se-hoon, saying that he should step down for doing nothing to prevent the accident.

Justice party Leader Lee Jeong-mi also hosted a contingency leader meeting at the National Assembly and called for President Yoon to immediately remove Lee and Yoon from their posts. Floor Leader Lee Eun-joo promised that the party would push for a thorough state investigation of the disaster.

Dong-Jun Heo hungry@donga.com · Dong-Joo Cho djc@donga.com