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A week on job, minister is left twisting in wind

Mar 07,2003
President Roh Moo-hyun is sticking to his choice for minister of information and communication despite attacks from the opposition party, civic groups and the press over his sham U.S. residency and his son’s exemption from military service after giving up Korean citizenship.
Chin Dae-je, the new minister, did not register an address in Korea for 14 years after returning from the United States in 1987. On paper, the former Samsung Electronics CEO was living abroad for business. Although the practice is not illegal, Mr. Chin did not vote or pay resident’s taxes during the period. Mr. Chin gave up U.S. residence in 2001, after his son had been exempted from mandatory military service in 2000.
Mr. Chin has given shifting explanations of the matters.
He is also involved in two lawsuits filed by People’s Solidarity for Participatory Democracy against Samsung Electronics executives over serious losses to the company allegedly caused by mismanagement.
Moon Jae-in, the senior presidential secretary for civil affairs, said yesterday that Mr. Chin would remain in the post. “We remain firm on the point. Replacing [Mr. Chin] is outrageous,” Mr. Moon said.
President Roh invited Mr. Chin to the Blue House yesterday morning and reportedly consoled him.
Later the Blue House tone appeared to waver. Mr. Moon said that the Blue House believed Mr. Chin’s competence in guiding Samsung Electronics into a world-class firm should not be overshadowed by his residency. “We are overwhelmed with shame over the fact that our judgment differed a bit from that of the people,” Mr. Moon said, adding that the Blue House did not know about Mr. Chin’s involvement in lawsuits.
The Grand National Party demanded that Mr. Chin be replaced.


by Kang Min-seok, Nam Jeong-ho


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