Opposition leaders quit over election defeat

Sister of Chun Tae-il pledges to understand conservatives

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Published : 2014-06-15 20:53
Updated : 2014-06-15 20:53

The first opposition lawmaker to accompany President Park Geun-hye on an international tour said Friday that she hoped to gain a mutual understanding with the government’s top executive.

“I think we have very different pasts,” main opposition New Politics Alliance for Democracy Rep. Chun Soon-ok said in an interview with The Korea Herald.

“But I don’t want to call her a bad person just because we have different ways of thinking.”

Chun will be joining Park on her Central Asian tour this week.

Chun is the sister of the late Chun Tae-il, a labor rights activist who burned himself to death to protest the abuse of factory workers in 1970. At the time, Park’s father, President Park Chung-hee, was directing a conglomerate-centered economic policy.

After her brother’s death, Rep. Chun worked in a textile factory as a teen. The junior Park went on to serve as the de facto first lady in 1974.

In 2012, President Park tried to visit the Chun Tae-il foundation to show her support for labor rights as a conservative presidential candidate. Rep. Chun at the time said it would be better for Park to solve current labor problems than just visit the foundation.

There are hopes that Chun and Park will narrow not only their personal differences during Park’s Central Asian tour, but also those between Cheong Wa Dae and the opposition.

The opposition party has criticized Park’s nomination of Moon Chang-keuk to the Prime Minister’s Office and the president’s government reconfiguration plans, among others.

“I do not think our ultimate goals are that different,” Rep. Chun said. “I think (the president and I) all want to make a happy Republic of Korea.”

By Jeong Hunny (hj257@heraldcorp.com)

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