Parties gear up for nomination hearings

By Korea Herald
  • Published : May 28, 2017 - 15:46
  • Updated : May 28, 2017 - 17:17
The parliamentary confirmation hearings on the new administration’s first batch of ministerial-level candidates are to kick off Monday as opposition parties step up the offensive on President Moon Jae-in’s choices.

Staring with the hearing on Suh Hoon, who has been tapped to head the National Intelligence Service, on Monday, Moon’s Cabinet choices including Kang Kyung-hwa and others will come under scrutiny in the National Assembly.

Suh already faces a host of allegations. The main opposition Liberty Korea Party is focusing on Suh’s past statements regarding North Korea, and taking issue with his stance on national security.

From left are Suh Hoon, Kim Dong-yeon and Lee Nak-yon (Yonhap)

According to the Liberty Korea Party, Suh made statements in an interview last year that appear to side with North Korea on the nuclear issue. In the interview, Suh allegedly claimed that Kim Jong-un should be given guarantees about the safety of his hold on power before the North Korean nuclear issue can be resolved, and that Pyongyang cannot accept the international community’s demands for denuclearization.

The minor conservative Bareun Party is taking issue with Suh’s employment record, claiming that Suh received 10 million won ($8,900) per month from a satellite TV station in 2012.

Kim Dong-yeon, who has been tapped for the post of deputy prime minister for the economy, also faces a series of allegations. Kim, whose confirmation hearing is slated to begin on June 7, is accused of improper conduct during the 2011 savings banks crisis, and of playing a leading role in the Lee Myung-bak administration’s four-river restoration project.

In addition to Suh and Kim, the overall outlook for Moon’s first choices appear grim, with the president’s very first nomination having hit a roadblock in the parliament.

In the confirmation hearing on prime minister nominee Lee Nak-yon, the opposition parties honed in on his wife’s use of a false address and raised a host of other allegations.

Led by the Liberty Korea Party, the opposition parties have refused to adopt the report on Lee, and have called on Moon to personally apologize for breaking his pledge on nominees’ ethical standards. In his election campaign, Moon had promised to exclude those who have a history of using false addresses from high level government posts. Along with false addresses, a tactic often used for real estate speculation, Moon promised to exclude those implicated in tax evasion, evading national service, plagiarism and real estate speculation from office.

Lee, whose outlook for taking office looks increasingly grim, is only the last in the long line of prime ministerial candidates who have failed to pass the parliament’s grilling.

Former President Park Geun-hye’s first choice for Prime Minister Kim Yong-joon renounced his nomination only five days after the announcement. Although Park’s first prime minister, Chung Hong-won, passed the parliamentary hearing, he stepped down amid criticism of failing to respond properly to the April 16, 2014 ferry disaster.

By Choi He-suk (