Moon must comply with the BAI’s request

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Moon must comply with the BAI’s request

Former president Moon Jae-in refused the Board of Audit and Inspection’s (BAI) request for his answers to written questions about the tragic death of a South Korean fisheries official in 2019 on the Yellow Sea. The BAI had asked Moon how to deliver the questions to his aides at his retirement residence in Yangsan. But the former president refused to receive the letter with questions about his apparent inaction until the moment when the North Korean navy shot the official to death and burned his body at sea. The BAI later sent Moon a letter of questions by email, but his aides returned it to BAI.

The reaction by the former president is very inappropriate. The BAI explained to him the need for his answers to the written questions before concluding the case on October 14. Lee Dae-joon, the fisheries official, went missing in September 2019 while on a routine patrol in the waters and was slaughtered by the North Korean sailors. But no evidence was found to prove the government’s rescue effort. Instead, Lee was stigmatized as a defector and killed by the North Korean navy. To solve all the mystery behind his death, the Yoon Suk-yeol administration must first find the truth as the family of the official wants.

Moon reportedly blamed the BAI for a “very rude act” against him. But the watchdog’s questioning of a former president on paper is not unprecedented. During the Kim Young-sam administration, the BAI sent a letter of questions to past presidents Chun Doo Hwan and Roh Tae-woo over the suspicious construction of a dam near the DMZ and a defense corruption scandal, respectively. Chun issued a statement to the public and disclosed his letter to the BAI head, while Roh answered written questions. (He said he changed the type of fighter jets to be purchased by the Air Force based on his conviction).

Past presidents mostly yielded, though not gladly, to requests from BAI to answer questions. According to the watchdog, former presidents Lee Myung-bak and Park Geun-hye refused to take its written questions, but they did not react to the request in such a high-handed manner.

The Democratic Party (DP) suspects the BAI made the request to Moon to help dilute the ongoing controversy over President Yoon’s hot-mic moment in New York. The DP even accused the BAI of abusing its authority to target Moon and proposed a national movement against the request. The People Power Party urges the former president to faithfully comply with the BAI’s request for written answers. We hope Moon to explain his administration’s response.
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