Responding to the main opposition People Power Party (PPP)’s demand that President Moon Jae-in apologize for the mass COVID-19 outbreak among Cheonghae unit sailors, Cheong Wa Dae said on Wednesday that the president is already working with an apologetic mind to the people.
Park Soo-hyun, Cheong Wa Dae senior secretary for public communication, told BBS and YTN Radio that President Moon had said the military was complacent in handling the issue, humbly taking responsibility for the mass outbreak as the commander-in-chief of the country’s armed forces. During a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday, President Moon said although the military handled the issue in its own way, it is hard to avoid criticism that the military was complacent in handling the cluster infection. Moon reprimanded the military but did not offer an apology himself, inviting criticism from the opposition party.
Cheong Wa Dae is in a position that treatment for the Cheonghae unit sailors and checking vaccination status of other overseas units should come first before the president’s apology. It also drew a line at blaming the military leadership, including Defense Minister Seo Wook for the cluster infection. However, criticism is mounting that Cheong Wa Dae is responsible for failing to serve as the security control tower.
At a party meeting on the same day, PPP floor leader Kim Gi-hyeon urged President Moon to offer an apology. He said the president acts as if he is in the realm of infallible god, adding he should sincerely apologize to the people for his mistakes.