The president is too vaguePresident Park Geun-hye had a meeting with senior political news editors from a range of media outlets at the Blue House to explain the achievements of her first official overseas trip, which was to the United States. Given the sensitive timing and the harsh political and economic environment, she was given good marks for answering an avalanche of questions from top journalists in a sincere and meticulous manner. We welcome Park’s decision to open the way to smooth communication with the media. The gathering carried big significance because she has long been criticized for being incommunicative and somewhat stubborn about the issue. We hope that her administration avoids unnecessary misunderstandings and achieves tangible results after focusing on its policy goals.
However, the president’s remarks about the Yoon Chang-jung scandal that flared during her visit to Washington makes us wonder if she’s really ready to take responsibility for the unprecedented mishap. She merely said she was very disappointed and that a high government official’s involvement in sexual misconduct testifies to the seriousness of sexual violence in our society. Park also said that nobody could have imagined a Blue House spokesman sexually abusing a 21-year-old intern at a hotel bar.
No one can raise an objection to that if it was said by a political commentator. But Park seems to have purposely forgotten that it was she who appointed Yoon to the crucial post of spokesman despite vehement objections. Such aloofness only invites harsher criticism. Moreover, the president confessed to the journalists that she doesn’t know when she may repeat a Korean proverb that goes, “It’s hard to fathom the 12-inch minds of people even though one can see through 12-foot deep water.” That remark can translate into an admission that such a bad appointment could be repeated in the future.
Park’s predecessor came under fire when he spoke like a bystander to his own administration in the latter part of his term. A presidency demands unlimited responsibility for all the decisions made. The president should have time for deep self-examination. Otherwise, her promise to toughen the scrutinizing of appointments is meaningless.