Opposition calls Moon’s peace economy ‘absurd’

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Opposition calls Moon’s peace economy ‘absurd’

President Moon Jae-in’s vision to overcome Japan’s economic retaliations with inter-Korean cooperation projects triggered outrage among the conservative parties Tuesday.

“The president is delusional,” Chairman Hwang Kyo-ahn of the main opposition Liberty Korea Party (LKP) said after a meeting with residents of a farm in Yeongcheon, North Gyeongsang. “His idea is truly absurd.”

Hwang was critical of Moon’s remarks, made at a senior secretaries’ meeting on Monday. Promoting his policy that the two Koreas’ economies will prosper when military tensions are reduced, Moon said, “The realization of a peace economy through inter-Korean economic cooperation will allow us to immediately catch up with Japan’s advantages.”

Neither Moon nor the Blue House elaborated further on how the administration will restart inter-Korean economic projects in the face of international sanctions and the Kim Jong-un regime’s apparent snub. Early Tuesday morning, the North fired two unidentified projectiles toward the East Sea from North Korea’s South Hwanghae Province, the fourth launch over the past two weeks since July 25.

“Moon said when inter-Korean economic cooperation proceeds, we can surpass Japan with a peace economy,” Hwang said. “But the North fired missiles just one day later. How can you carry out economic cooperation projects with the people who are firing missiles?”

Hwang also said Moon is talking nonsense while doing nothing about a problem that he should be focusing on with diplomatic efforts and political resources. “The administration treats the situation as if it is somebody else’s business,” Hwang said. “It is just making the people upset.”

Rep. Na Kyung-won, floor leader of the LKP, also condemned Moon’s message during a party meeting on Tuesday. “His remarks are laughable,” she said. “The Blue House is denying this serious reality. It acts like an ostrich burying its head in the sand.”

“The key to the economic crisis [prompted by Japan’s export curbs] is normalizing the supply chain of our companies,” Na said. “But he presented a ridiculous solution of cooperation with North Korea. He cannot distinguish between wishful thinking and a realistic, feasible resolution.”

Kim Byong-joon, a former associate of Moon who had turned to work for the LKP’s acting leadership, also criticized Moon through a post on Facebook. “We are living in an era where knowledge, information and technology, as well as innovation capabilities, not the size of the population, are creating competitiveness and wealth,” Kim said. “What era are the Blue House and the president living in?”

He also said Moon’s remarks laid bare the Blue House’s ignorance and lack of problem-solving abilities.

Another conservative leader, Rep. Yoo Seong-min of the Bareunmirae Party, also criticized Moon. In a Facebook posting on Tuesday, Yoo said, “Now is not the time for the president to bluff.”

“The North is adamant that it won’t give up nuclear arms, while firing missiles one day after another,” Yoo wrote. “When and how can you cooperate with the North and outrun Japan?”

He also said Moon is deceiving the public with a sugar-coated global vision of a peace-driven economy, although no inter-Korean projects, including the Kaesong Industrial Complex, can be resumed.

“If the president will have an economic war against Japan, he must know accurately how much suffering the people and companies will have to endure, and he must be ready,” Yoo wrote. “The cannon fodder of this war is the people and the companies.”

Rep. Ha Tae-keung of the Bareunmirae Party also said Moon must recant the plan.

“The opposition parties didn’t even need to criticize Moon’s delusional remarks. The North responded directly by firing missiles early in the morning,” Ha said.

BY SER MYO-JA [ser.myoja@joongang.co.kr]
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