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Serious moral problems

June 02,2017
Too many allegations have been raised over nominated foreign minister Kang Kyung-wha and Fair Trade Commission chief Kim Sang-jo to question whether they are fit for the top government positions. Kang admitted that she used a fake address to put her daughter in a high school in the hopes that her child could better adapt after moving from the United States.

But the address she borrowed was not a relative’s, as was earlier suspected, but the home of the school head master. She explained that her husband had not known the details when he talked about the address. Her daughters’ shady real estate deals and fund-raising to start a business also are suspicious. Kang hurriedly paid her taxes before the confirmation hearing after lawmakers revealed her daughters’ inheritance taxes have not been fully paid.

Kim Sang-jo is being challenged with allegations of favoritism involving his wife and a illicit property deal. Kim’s wife was hired as an English teacher at a public high school despite her Toeic score being below the requirement. Kim also is accused of copying and pasting his own material that had been written up for the government in another publication. The opposition lawmakers are claiming that he is unfit to oversee corporate morality and referee the economic playing field.

The allegations may not be entirely true. Kim claimed he does not use a credit card. But his bill came up to around to 20 million won ($20,490) a year. It may be unfair to argue over small details, but the FTC is dubbed as the police for the economy. Its chief needs to have higher ethical standards than other cabinet members to serve as a fair judge.

The foreign minister represents the national dignity overseas. The Blue House should reconsider its choice of Kang and Kim. It must find out the truth behind the allegations and whether they are reasonable to persuade the public and lawmakers. Their expertise in the fields cannot be justified if their morality is lacking.

JoongAng Ilbo, June 1, Page 34