Opposition stokes challenge of Park’s presidential victory

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Opposition stokes challenge of Park’s presidential victory

A senior opposition lawmaker questioned the legitimacy of President Park Geun-hye’s victory in the December 2012 election and demanded she not “protect” the national spy agency, which is being investigated for alleged pro-Park interference in the campaign.

Representative Lee Hae-chan, a senior representative of the Democratic Party, warned Park that if she used the National Intelligence Service for her own political gains, she would face “forces” calling for the nullifying of the presidential election.

Lee also stressed the connection between Park’s father, former president and strongman Park Chung Hee, and the predecessor of the NIS, the Korean Central Intelligence Agency.

And in referring to the president, Lee used a Korean term for “you,” dangsin, that can be derogatory.

Lee was speaking at a local meeting of the DP in Sejong City. His provocative remarks came just days after a DP spokesman apologized and resigned for calling the president “the offspring of a person who has never been born,” also referring to her father.

“The more you try to protect [the NIS] and lie [to people], the stronger the forces who will demand nullifying your victory [in the race],” Lee said. “If you want to secure your legitimacy, cut off this ill-fated relationship.”

Lee reiterated the charge that the NIS posted comments online denouncing then-opposition candidate Moon Jae-in and supporting Park during the campaign, which are currently being probed by a special committee of the National Assembly.

“In the 1997 presidential race,” Lee said, “the spy agency got involved in the election by rallying public condemnation against pro-Pyongyang people,” Lee said.

In 1997, the Korean Central Intelligence Agency chief bribed a Korean-American and ordered him to spread false rumors that then-opposition candidate Kim Dae-jung received bribes from North Korean leader Kim Jong-il. The KCIA chief was sentenced to five years in jail on charges of illegal political intervention in 1999.

Stressing that Park’s father created the KCIA, Lee said: “By whom was Park Chung Hee killed? The Park family has a long history with the KCIA. Please cut off [the relationship].”

Park Chung Hee was assassinated by KCIA chief Kim Jae-kyu in 1979.

Over the weekend, Lee Jung-hee, chairwoman of the Unified Progressive Party, also brought up Park’s family background to attack the president, calling her father “Masao Takagi,” the Japanese name he adopted when he was in the Japanese Kwantung Army in Manchuria.

“The Saenuri Party is afraid of the fact that the daughter of the pro-Japan Masao Takagi .?.?. also occupies her post thanks to the NIS,” she said on Saturday during a rally at Seoul Plaza. “If the truth is revealed, her legitimacy would collapse.”

President Park showed her disapproval over the level of discourse yesterday.

“Words represent the character of a person,” she said at a meeting with senior presidential secretaries yesterday. “The words and the deeds of the people who represent the public also represent the level of a nation.”

“The DP should stop the politics of foul language,” Representative Choi Kyung-hwan, the floor leader of the ruling Saenuri Party, said at a party meeting yesterday. “They should show a clear attitude of accepting the outcome of the presidential election and stop the abusive language that shows the immaturity of the National Assembly.”

“I assume the recent comments by the DP denies the outcome of the presidential election,” Shim Jae-chul, a supreme councilor of the ruling party, said yesterday. “The solution is for DP Chairman Kim Han-gill to proclaim that they accept the outcome and follow democracy.”

BY KIM HEE-JIN [heejin@joongang.co.kr]
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