After his retirement on Sunday, former President Lee Myung-bak is expected to serve as an advisor to developing countries and others in need of his experience in leading economic advancement and global initiatives such as green growth.
According to Lee Dong-kwan, his former presidential secretary for public relations, Lee, 71, is expected to establish a private foundation and open its office in southern Seoul for his work to contribute to the international community.
President Park Geun-hye, her predecessor Lee Myung-bak and former first lady Kim Yoon-ok leave the National Assembly following the inauguration ceremony. (Chung Hee-cho/The Korea Herald)
“(Former) President Lee is a living witness to the history of South Korea’s economic growth. He also worked as an entrepreneur and contributed to enhancing the nation’s global standing,” the former aide said during a radio interview last week.
“There have been many requests from foreign nations, which called on him to advise them. While distancing himself from domestic politics, he is expected to be a role model as a former leader to contribute internationally.”
He added that the foundation could be launched later this year or early next year, saying that it would be run with public donations and the government’s financial support. It is separate from the Lee & Kim Foundation, which Lee founded in 2009 with a personal donation to financially support poor students.
For the time being, Lee is expected to enjoy some leisure time. During his last presidential address to the nation last Tuesday, Lee expressed his wish to return to a normal life.
“As I lay down the burdensome load of history, I find myself eager with anticipation for the new life that awaits me,” he said during the speech.
“After the end of my term, when the season of fresh blooming flowers arrives, I would like to make my way by bicycle around the four newly restored rivers and take in the magnificence of our land.”
After a summit meeting with Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra on Sunday, Lee and first lady Kim Yoon-ok left the presidential office of Cheong Wa Dae and returned to his private retirement home in Nonhyeon-dong, southern Seoul.
As a former president, he is by law to receive protection from the Presidential Security Service for a decade, after which the police are to offer security to Lee until he passes away. He is to receive a yearly salary of 135 million won ($124,080).
By Song Sang-ho (firstname.lastname@example.org)