Moon waits as Park stays quiet on his nomination

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Moon waits as Park stays quiet on his nomination

Going against widespread expectations, President Park Geun-hye remained silent yesterday over whether she would withdraw Moon Chang-keuk’s prime ministerial nomination.

The president returned just two days ago from a three-nation trip to Central Asia.

Moon, who worked for the JoongAng Ilbo for 37 years before retiring in 2012, made his commute as usual yesterday to the temporary office at the government complex in Gwanghwamun, central Seoul.

But the outspoken former journalist, who has been robustly defending himself against attacks labeling him as “pro-Japanese” spared his breath this time. When asked by reporters whether he intended to give up his nomination, Moon said he had “nothing to say,” and would await a final decision.

The Blue House was expected to announce its decision yesterday at the latest - the verdict over whether the administration will go ahead with the confirmation hearing has been pending for nearly two weeks now.

President Park has been postponing signing a motion for Moon’s appointment to be sent to the National Assembly, the prerequisite for a candidate’s confirmation hearing.

Moon has shown a reluctance to submit his resignation despite long-standing silence from the Blue House. Doing so would likely be a personal blow in the aftermath of a KBS report on June 11 - a day after his nomination - that referenced a speech Moon gave in 2011 at his church, where he said that Japan’s colonization of Korea and the division of the Peninsula were all a part of “God’s plan.”

The main opposition party instantly labeled him a pro-Japanese traitor following the broadcast.

Meanwhile, nearly 500 figures from academia, media, religion and culture issued a joint statement on Sunday to demand that the National Assembly hold a confirmation hearing for Moon, claiming that he had been a victim of the media’s witch hunt.

The move gained force after MBC ran 43 minutes of Moon’s 70-minute speech from 2011 during a debate the station aired on Friday.

“The KBS report that labeled Moon as a pro-Japanese, anti-Korean figure by citing only a fraction of his lecture at a church is a critical blunder and shows that the media has forgotten its sense of duty,” the statement said.


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