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LKP floor leader lambastes Moon administration in speech

Feb 02,2018
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Rep. Kim Sung-tae, floor leader of the Liberty Korea Party, delivers his speech at the National Assembly on Thursday. [YONHAP]
The floor leader of the largest opposition party used his speech at the National Assembly to pounce on almost every policy of President Moon Jae-in, particularly his campaign to investigate the wrongdoings of his predecessors.

“The Moon administration vowed to thoroughly investigate the so-called accumulated evils,” Rep. Kim Sung-tae of the Liberty Korea Party (LKP) said, questioning the government’s fairness, “but why is it silent about the allegation that the former first lady, Kwon Yang-sook, had received $6.4 million in bribes?”

Since Moon took office in May 2017, the government has advanced a campaign to “eradicate accumulated evils,” investigating alleged crimes committed during the Lee Myung-bak and Park Geun-hye administrations. As multiple probes are simultaneously taking place, the LKP has attempted to counter the campaign by making accusations against liberal leaders and their families.

On Jan. 15, the LKP asked the prosecution to investigate Kwon, the widow of the late President Roh Moo-hyun, and his family over an allegation that the family received $6.4 million from a businessman in 2009. Although the prosecution had terminated its probe at the time because Roh committed suicide, the LKP is demanding that it be reopened and the late president’s family be investigated.

“Why is the government doing nothing about the suspicious money dealing between Seongnam Mayor Lee Jae-myung and Naver?” Kim also asked.

Earlier this month, the LKP also asked the prosecution to investigate Lee on a charge of receiving money from the internet portal company Naver in return for his influence. The party said Naver’s massive donation to a civic group was sent to the professional football club Seongnam FC, owned by Lee, and that Lee later gave the green light to Naver’s construction project.

Kim addressed the National Assembly as negotiation bloc leaders took turns giving speeches at the opening of a legislative session. His ruling party counterpart, Woo Won-shik, floor leader of the Democratic Party, gave one on Wednesday.

As Kim spoke, ruling and opposition lawmakers were stirred as his controversial remarks were not part of his original script.

The LKP floor leader also ridiculed Moon followers’ recent purchase of an advertisement in New York’s Times Square to celebrate his birthday. “Is this really a country where your life is getting better?” Kim said. “Is this really a country where the people are enjoying happiness?”

Kim criticized almost all the administration’s policies, particularly its latest move to challenge the controversial 2015 deal with Japan, designed to settle the matter of Japanese military wartime sex slavery. “Why did you have to turn it inside out when you are not going to renegotiate it?” Kim asked. “How come you are not sending a special envoy to Prime Minister [Shinzo] Abe to lodge a strong complaint?”

LKP lawmakers shouted “You are doing great!” to show their support for Kim, while Democrats reacted with anger, telling him to stop his speech.

Kim also attacked Moon for operating populist policies and anti-American, pro-North campaigns. He said the redeployment of tactical nuclear weapons is the most effective measure to counter the North’s nuclear threats.

Kim, a former construction worker who once headed the Federation of Korean Trade Unions, also criticized Moon for intervening in the decision-making process of the minimum wage hike, although the Minimum Wage Commission has the power to do so.

Last year, the minimum wage for this year was raised by 16 percent to 7,530 won ($6.60) per hour, the biggest jump since 2001, as a part of Moon’s policy to boost economic growth with larger income and spending.

“I want to revise the minimum wage law in order to prevent the government’s political intervention,” Kim said.

His impromptu remarks quickly invited criticism from other parties. Not only the ruling Democratic Party, but also the People’s Party, Bareun Party and Justice Party said Kim irresponsibly made unsubstantiated accusations against the government. They added that the LKP shares the responsibility for the failed presidency of Moon’s predecessor, Park Geun-hye, but that Kim has shown no regret.

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