Moon's Covid and nuke policies to come under magnifying glass

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Moon's Covid and nuke policies to come under magnifying glass

Choe Jae-hae, second from left, chair of the Board of Audit and Inspection, answers questions from lawmakers on Monday at the National Assembly in Yeouido, western Seoul.

Choe Jae-hae, second from left, chair of the Board of Audit and Inspection, answers questions from lawmakers on Monday at the National Assembly in Yeouido, western Seoul.

The Moon Jae-in administration’s nuclear phase-out policy and early response to the Covid-19 pandemic will soon be investigated by state auditors for irregularities.
 
The Board of Audit and Inspection (BAI) said Tuesday that both issues were recently chosen to be investigated in the latter half of this year.
 
There is a chance, however, that the so-called inspection of the pandemic response won't take place. A BAI official told the press that a final call would depend on how the current sixth wave of the virus unfolds and how it impacts the public health system.
 
Health authorities believe new Covid cases will peak this week or next before subsiding. The number of Covid patients in critical or serious condition, however, is expected to continue through the coming weeks.
 
The BAI source said that some BAI officials were not keen about investigating health authorities when they would be busy trying to save lives.
 
If the Covid investigation does take place, the BAI said it hopes to look into the Moon administration’s infectious disease response and why vaccine purchases were delayed.
 
Rep. Shin Hyun-young, a spokesperson for the Democratic Party, lashed out at the Yoon Suk-yeol administration for using the BAI as a means to crack down on its predecessor, calling Yoon's government “pathetic.”
 
In a briefing at the National Assembly in Yeouido, western Seoul on Tuesday, Shin lambasted the Yoon administration’s “political” attempt to investigate the Moon government’s response to the pandemic, highlighting that the international community once praised Korea’s virus control methods.
 
Shin said the Yoon administration seemed to be trying to “dig dirt” on its predecessor to “hide its own incompetence.”
 
“Rather than inspecting [the former administration’s] response to the coronavirus,” said Shin, “the Yoon Suk-yeol government must strengthen the [public health] system to protect people from the ongoing Covid-19 [pandemic] and prepare for the upcoming ‘twindemic.’”
 
Shin defined twindemic as the Covid-19 pandemic coupled with seasonal flu.
 
Apart from the Covid investigation, the BAI this week announced plans to investigate the previous administration’s nuclear phase-out policy, which Yoon has pledged to reverse.
 
The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy earlier this month signed agreements with nuclear energy construction material suppliers to restore the country’s nuclear power generation capacity.
 
In March 2021, before Yoon came into office, the BAI concluded there were no “procedural problems” in the Moon administration’s drafting of its nuclear phase-out policy.
 
That stance changed, however, after Ryou Byeong-ho was appointed secretary general of the BAI in June, a month after Yoon was inaugurated. Ryou announced that his organization would review the nuclear phase-out policy.

BY LEE SUNG-EUN [lee.sungeun@joongang.co.kr]
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