Park calls in sick, cancels appearance at cabinet

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Park calls in sick, cancels appearance at cabinet

President Park Geun-hye has canceled her plans to preside over the cabinet meeting today in order to recuperate from a cold she has been fighting since her trip to the Netherlands and Germany last week, the Blue House announced yesterday.

“The cabinet meeting takes place every two weeks, and the president and the prime minister take turns [leading the session], but the decision [this time to have the prime minister preside over the meeting on her behalf] took into consideration her tight trip schedule,” Min Kyung-wook, a Blue House spokesman, said in a briefing yesterday.

“She seems to be recovering gradually,” he added. “… I have not been notified about anything specific regarding her condition.”

She will, however, attend a banquet with Korean diplomats this evening at the Blue House, Min said.

The 62-year-old president is known to practice yoga and meditation, which has likely contributed to her generally healthy constitution. News of her illness was made public after the Blue House disclosed to the press in the morning of March 25 in The Hague that Park had missed an official banquet hosted by Dutch King Willem-Alexander the previous night.

Prior to a trilateral meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on the evening of March 25, Park also canceled a few other scheduled daytime events after reportedly feeling under the weather.

When asked by reporters if she had recovered on the flight back to Seoul on Saturday, the president responded, “The cold has not easily gone away.”

Her doctor administered several rounds of intravenous fluids during and after the trip, according to Blue House sources.

The president’s schedule was packed throughout her trip to Europe, allowing her little to no time to relax. On this occasion, her second trip of the year, her itinerary was fuller and included two separate highly publicized international summits: The first with Chinese President Xi Jinping immediately after her arrival in The Hague, and her second with Obama and Abe.

Her schedule also included a series of meetings with the leaders of the Netherlands and Germany. Her trip to Europe was a little less than a week.

BY SEO JI-EUN [spring@joongang.co.kr]


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