On the call for the pardon of the two former presidents - Lee Myung-bak and Park Geun-hye on Wednesday, South Korean President Moon Jae-in said that “national consensus should be taken into consideration and it should act as an aid for national unity.” His stance shows continuous reservations following his comment made at the New Year’s press conference in January that pardons without national consensus are premature.
According to a high-ranking official at the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae, President Moon said, “The imprisonment of the two former presidents is heartbreaking, and it is a pity that they are both aged and in poor health,” at a luncheon meeting with new Seoul mayor Oh Se-hoon and Busan mayor Park Hyung-jun on Wednesday. It was the first time that the president invited only opposition parties.
The suggestion for pardons was made by Park that day. “This may sound a little uncomfortable, but the former presidents can be said to be the best citizens and it hurts to see them in such conditions,” said Park. With this he said, “I ask you to reconsider the great integration.” The high-ranking official of Cheong Wa Dae said the president’s response was neither an agreement nor refusal to the proposal. “The president has been careful to use his pardon power and he seems to hold the same perspective on this issue,” he added.