Criticism of Kim resumes after short-lived reprieve

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Criticism of Kim resumes after short-lived reprieve

The Grand National Party's criticism of President Kim Dae-jung grew fiercer Tuesday, negating positive response to the president's remarks at a press luncheon the previous day.

The opposition party was upbeat Monday afternoon after the Blue House event, calling the president taking responsibility for his sons' problems and speaking of punishment for them noteworthy. But it did not last long, as the party Tuesday attacked the president and demanded investigations of the corruption allegations against his sons by the National Assembly and an independent counsel.

Representative Suh Chung-won, the party's chairman, said it is impossible to understand how the president had not known of his sons wrongdoing. President Kim told reporters Monday at the luncheon that it is regrettable he was not informed about the scandals in advance. The Grand Nationals' floor leader, Rhee Q-taek, called the president's remark a lie.

"If the president is telling the truth, then it means all of the agencies that report to the Blue House on these matters failed to do their duty," said Nam Kyong-phil, the party's spokesman.

The Grand Nationals demanded that the Kim Dae-jung Peace Foundation be dissolved immediately and the foundation's funds be handed over to the national treasury. The foundation has been the source of graft allegations, including one involving the president's second son.

Another GNP representative, Huh Tae-yeol, criticized the president's interest in possibly amending the constitution. "That shows how the president hopes to influence politics even after his term ends," Mr. Huh said. At Monday's luncheon the president expressed vague interest in some of the proposals for changing the constitution, but stressed that he would not touch on the issue before he leaves office. But the GNP chairman said the president has not been true to his word. "He is fueling the debate about a constitutional amendment," said Mr. Suh.

by Nam Jeong-ho

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