&#91EDITORIALS&#93Rocky start for Mr. Chin

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[EDITORIALS]Rocky start for Mr. Chin

People are questioning the ethics of Chin Dae-je, the new minister of information and communications. The heart of the issue is not the dual nationality his son once had, but the lack of consistency in Mr. Chin’s explanations and his tendency to avoid answering questions.
But for the sake of the national interest and in line with global standards, we must not waste our time and energy any more on such issues when there is a change in government offices.
Of course, there is a problem with the way Mr. Chin handled the issue. It is hard to understand his true intention in maintaining his family status as “emigrated” for 15 years. Mr. Chin returned to Korea in 1987, but had lived without a citizen registration card until 2001; he did not pay taxes as a Korean or vote here, the two most critical duties of a Korean citizen. There is no way to stave off the suspicion that he purposely kept that status to meet the conditions of the military enlistment law that say the entire family must have permanent residence status in a foreign country for his son to be exempted from military duty.
Mr. Chin may make a good minister, but his conflicting statements make us wonder about his ethics. His words have evolved from “My son gave up his Korean citizenship” to “My son had dual citizenship because he failed to register in time” to “I did not know that his Korean citizenship was revoked.” Mr. Chin also said he was not informed until three days ago that his son filed for and received a draft exemption in 1997.
If the government did not know these facts during the selection process, its personnel system is defective. If the government defends Mr. Chin even though it knew of the issue, many people will be disappointed. We hope Mr. Chin now will behave responsibly.
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