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No compromise on ‘accumulated evils’ campaign: Moon

May 04,2019
President Moon Jae-in’s latest pledge to push domestic reforms without a compromise invited fierce criticism from the conservative opposition party on Friday, which sees his campaign to “eradicate accumulated evils” as political revenge.

“President Moon officially declared a leftist dictatorship,” Rep. Na Kyung-won, floor leader of the Liberty Korea Party, said Friday. “The dichotomous way of thinking that ‘I am good and you are evil’ is the ideological root of this administration’s arrogance and highhandedness.”

In a luncheon with elder statesmen on Thursday, Moon discussed the intensifying partisan political conflicts. He made clear he has no intention to compromise in his campaign to “fix past wrongs” in the country’s governance.

“I hear a lot that it is time to stop the investigations to remove ‘accumulated evils’ and move forward to seek unity,” Moon told 12 veteran statesmen on Thursday. “But the government cannot control ongoing investigations, and it is also my belief that they must not be controlled.

“From my personal view, if abuse of powers of the administration for personal gain and abuse of powers in the judiciary are true, they are extremely serious anticonstitutional [crimes], and it is not easy to make a compromise,” Moon said. “Therefore, the truth must be laid bare and past wrongs must be fixed as soon as possible. After that, if we have a consensus to build a new country based on introspection, we can have cooperative politics and compromises on specific plans. But the fundamental stances on abuse of power in the administration and judiciary are different [between the parties], so we are having many difficulties.”

Moon’s remarks were in an opening message for the luncheon, in which top officials from the Kim Young-sam, Kim Dae-jung and Roh Moo-hyun administrations, renowned scholars and former judges were invited to offer advice to the president.

“Moon has said he is worried that the public is showing intensified hostilities as conflicts and confrontations between political parties grow extremely serious,” Na said Friday. “But there has never been a president like Moon who has bypassed the National Assembly and the opposition parties. The Blue House is the source of confrontation and conflict. Moon is acting as the president of his core supporters, not the people. He is truly responsible for dividing the public.

“Moon said the anticorruption campaign must be completed first and cooperative politics should come later,” Na said. “I see it as annihilation [of the opposition] first and dictatorship later. Moon wants to completely annihilate opposing political forces and start a dictatorship.”

After Moon’s remarks prompted comments, the Blue House tried to calm the situation on Friday. A senior presidential aide met with reporters and offered an interpretation of the president’s comments.

“It is wrong to interpret that a compromise can be made only after the accumulated evils are all removed, or that there will be no compromise unless the accumulated evils are eradicated,” said the official. “Many media said sweeping away the accumulated evils is a precondition for a compromise, but that sounds like the president will not compromise.”

Reporters, then, pointed out that Moon has said cooperative politics and compromises are possible “after” past wrongs are fixed. The official said, “We cannot see everything as a dichotomy, as if we are drawing a clear line.

“The president was saying that cooperative politics and compromises are possible if a consensus is made after past wrongs are fixed,” the aide said. “But it was being interpreted differently than his intention.

“Some say they are sick and tired of investigations, while others say those that have been done are not enough,” the aide said. “It doesn’t mean that we will start a new investigation.”

Asked if Moon wanted to correct the media’s interpretation of his message, the official said he did not.

Asked if the Blue House has a plan to follow through with a recommendation by former Environment Minister and political strategist Yoon Yeo-joon to resolve the current deadlock between the ruling and opposition parties, the official said, “No, we do not.”

BY SER MYO-JA [ser.myoja@joongang.co.kr]



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